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Latest News May 2, 2017

May 2, 2017

news From All Africa

  • Philips Partners with the Government of Kenya and the United Nations to Advance the African Healthcare Agenda
    • Establishment of the SDG Partnership Platform in Kenya aims to accelerate Primary Healthcare transformation in support of Universal Health Coverage
    • Collaboration and innovation are key to ensure a financially sustainable healthcare system

    Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG; AEX: PHIA) (www.Philips.com) today announced its full support for a new Government of Kenya and United Nations (UN) initiative aimed at strengthening primary and community healthcare in Africa. The leading health technology company is coming on board as the first private sector partner to establish an SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) Partnership Platform in Kenya for accelerating primary healthcare transformation in support of universal health coverage.

    This unique platform will bring together executive leadership from government, development partners, private sector organizations and civil society to investigate opportunities for accelerating universal access to primary healthcare services in Kenya. Special focus will be given to addressing gaps in human resources, healthcare financing, essential medicines, medical supplies, health information, and the use of technology.

    “The Government of Kenya is committed to accelerate progress towards universal health coverage. We are open to fostering partnerships that are dynamic and mutually beneficial and we foresee great potential in the SDG partnership platform,” said Hon. Dr. Cleopa Mailu, Cabinet Secretary for Health, Kenya.

    Philips will immediately provide support to the platform to start work on establishing a common fact-base on primary healthcare by assessing current and future healthcare needs, so that platform members can jointly identify, design and implement transformative initiatives in pursuit of the platform’s ambitions. Philips will leverage its in-depth clinical insights, global innovation capabilities, and its experience to sustainably deliver improved healthcare through partnership with national and county level stakeholders. In addition and to ensure continuity, Philips has also committed support for two years to the establishment of the SDG Healthcare Platform Secretariat.

    “You cannot achieve prosperity without quality healthcare, so we are excited to come on board and contribute effectively to the SDG Partnership Platform on Primary Healthcare Transformation,” said Mr. Jasper Westerink (http://APO.af/oaqPX5), CEO, Philips Africa. “Philips is passionate about healthcare, because more than in any other sector, it has a direct and dramatic positive impact on the quality of people’s lives. As a key stakeholder in this sector, we are determined to align agendas and incentives that eliminate barriers to healthcare access. No single business, institution or government organization can solve this pressing issue on its own. The SDG Partnership Platform underpins our collective responsibility to ensure we all have access to high quality affordable primary healthcare.”

    “The constitution of Kenya guarantees the rights to health as contained under article 43. The Council of Governors of Kenya is looking forward to closely collaborating with the SDG Partnership Platform to help accelerate universal access to primary healthcare in Kenya's 47 counties through unlocking transformative public-private partnership investments,” said Mrs. Jacqueline Mogeni, CEO, Council of Governors, Kenya.

    “We are excited about this ambitious new Partnership Platform. Everyone has a role to play in the delivery of the SDGs and partnering with responsible, innovative businesses such as Philips in that process raises our chances of becoming the first generation to end poverty,” added Siddharth Chatterjee, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative to Kenya. 

    Strengthening Primary Care and Enabling Community Development

    Philips believes that strengthening local healthcare systems is central to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goal 3. Philips has been dedicated to advancing primary healthcare in Africa for many years, with a strong focus on Mother and Child Care.

    The issues facing primary healthcare in Africa are complicated and multifaceted. Creating sustainable improvement therefore means addressing a wide range of challenges collectively. Issues range from the unavailability of qualified healthcare workers and the lack of electricity, water and basic healthcare technology in many areas, to sustainability and a lack of reliable data.

    In June 2014, in partnership with the local government of Kiambu County, Kenya, Philips inaugurated the first Community Life Center (CLC) (http://APO.af/oFQNKC) in Africa. This is an open platform aimed at strengthening primary and community healthcare, and turned the local health facility into a community hub, where technology is bundled with an integrated service package and community empowerment interventions. This includes basic infrastructure and healthcare technology improvements, such as solar power and LED lighting, training, maintenance and sustainability, connectivity, reporting, monitoring, referral procedures, medical backpacks for community health workers, patient and workflow optimization and project management.

    Within eighteen months of its opening (from June 2014 – December 2015), the total number of outpatients visiting the center in Kiambu per month increased from 900 to 4080; the number of children being treated quadrupled; the number of first antenatal care patients grew fifteen-fold, and the number of fourth visit antenatal care patients each month grew sixteen-fold.

    The second CLC was inaugurated in Tadu village in the Democratic Republic of Congo in November 2016, and work is currently underway on a CLC in Mandera County in North-Eastern Kenya.

    The enormous success of the CLC pilot in Kenya is compelling evidence that such platforms, implemented in collaboration with governmental and private partners, can be replicated throughout Africa wherever deprived communities need a helping hand.

    “Philips wants to contribute to the process of co-creating new solutions, new business models, and meaningful partnerships to provide innovations that make an impact. The SDG Partnership Platform will enable the dialogue and decision making required to jointly define new pathways to ensure that the provision of healthcare in the SDGs reaches everyone, everywhere,” concluded Jasper Westerink. 

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Royal Philips.

    For further information, please contact:
    Radhika Choksey                                                            
    Philips Group Communications – Africa                                
    Tel.: +31 6 25 25 9000                                                       
    E-mail: Radhika.Choksey@Philips.com

    Joost Maltha 
    Philips Group Press Office
    Tel.: +31 6 10 55 8116
    E-mail: Joost.Maltha@Philips.com

    About Royal Philips:
    Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) (www.Philips.com) is a leading health technology company focused on improving people's health and enabling better outcomes across the health continuum from healthy living and prevention, to diagnosis, treatment and home care. Philips leverages advanced technology and deep clinical and consumer insights to deliver integrated solutions. Headquartered in the Netherlands, the company is a leader in diagnostic imaging, image-guided therapy, patient monitoring and health informatics, as well as in consumer health and home care. Philips' health technology portfolio generated 2016 sales of EUR 17.4 billion and employs approximately 70,000 employees with sales and services in more than 100 countries. News about Philips can be found at www.Philips.com/newscenter.   

  • Informed analysis will be vital to seizing the opportunities presented by Saudi Vision 2030

    Saudi Vision 2030 has the potential to attract $1 trillion in inward FDI over the next 15 years, according to experts from Oxford Strategic Consulting (www.OxfordStrategicConsulting.com), Oxford Economics (www.OxfordEconomics.com) and Control Risks (www.ControlRisks.com). The vision outlines Saudi Arabia’s ambitious transformation plans, and aims to create a diversified economy underpinned by an invigorated private sector. Even if only partially realised, it would create significant business opportunities and drive the kingdom onto a more dynamic growth path.

    The kingdom is at a critical juncture: its economic model is no longer sustainable in a world of depressed oil prices, and there is a youthful, connected population entering the workforce and eager to integrate with the outside world.

    Market and geopolitical outlook

    Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 is a sweeping reform agenda. It not only seeks to reorient the economy away from oil, but also to create a more engaged and open society. These social aspects go hand in hand with the economic reform agenda and aims to create a productive society that will support economic growth.

    Investors looking to capitalise on these opportunities require a nuanced understanding of how the country’s business environment is changing. Businesses need to understand the government’s plans for the sectors in which they operate, as well as the government’s ability to deliver on its reform promises. They also need to continue to monitor the fiscal and social pressures the government is facing, as these will be primary factors shaping the government’s resolve to follow through on these fundamental reforms.

    Graham Griffiths (Analyst, Control Risks Middle East) commented:

    “Saudi Arabia is embarking on a radical transition that promises to open up many economic opportunities for investors. However, the kingdom will remain a challenging environment to work in, as the traditional way of doing business – both within the government and in the private sector – meets the new economic model. Informed analysis of the rapidly changing political, economic and social landscape in the kingdom will be vital to seizing the opportunities presented by Saudi Vision 2030.”

    Economic outlook (see the multimedia content here: http://APO.af/3kMXu3)

    Total GDP: A productivity-led economic transformation could enable Saudi Arabia to double its GDP and create as many as six million new jobs by 2030. Better Human Resources can also help the country boost GDP. Oxford Strategic Consulting’s ‘Human Resources Management in the GCC’ research report (http://APO.af/JjXFmu) with Aramco found that effective HR could add $14bn per year to the GDP of the Gulf Cooperation Council states. Given Saudi Arabia’s contribution to the bloc’s total GDP, Oxford Strategic Consulting estimates that better HR has the potential to generate approximately $6.44bn in GDP for the country.

    Inward FDI: The vision also aims to increase inward FDI’s contribution to GDP from 3.8% to 5.7% and this would require an inward FDI average growth of 21% per year (in nominal terms), resulting in cumulative inward FDI of up to $1 trillion over the next fifteen years. To attract foreign investment the government is seeking to create a more investment-friendly environment by eliminating bureaucratic red-tape, opening up additional sectors of the economy to foreign investors and revamping regulation.

    Private sector: The private sector currently contributes 40% to GDP, but officials hope to increase this to 65% by 2030. Meeting this target requires stronger private sector annual GDP growth by five percentage points per year versus baseline growth. This would grow the private sector on average by 13% per year (in nominal terms), resulting in private sector GDP growing by a factor of six in just fifteen years.

    SMEs: To spur private sector growth, the government is taking steps to support SMEs and provide stimulus funds for the private sector. The country’s private sector will welcome this support, as it needs to employ a total of 4.1m nationals by 2030 – a rise of 2.5m compared with current levels. 

    Even as the vision looks set to unlock numerous opportunities, its implementation will face challenges. For both foreign and local firms, taking advantage of and maximising these opportunities will require solid knowledge of the local market dynamics, reform agendas and human capital considerations.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Control Risks Group Holdings Ltd.

    PRESS CONTACTS
    For interviews, images, quotes and more information, please contact:

    CONTROL RISKS: 
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    Control Risks Middle East  
    M: +971 (0) 50 600 5993
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    E: Claire.Peddle@ControlRisks.com 

    OXFORD ECONOMICS:
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    Head of Global Media Relations & PR
    Oxford Economics 
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    E: GDuncan@OxfordEconomics.com

    OXFORD STRATEGIC CONSULTING: 
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    Oxford Strategic Consulting
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    About: 
    Control Risks
    (www.ControlRisks.com) is a global risk consultancy specialising in political, security and integrity risk. The company enables its clients to understand and manage the risks of operating in complex or hostile environments. Through a unique combination of services, wide geographical reach and by adopting a close partnership approach with clients, Control Risks helps organisations effectively solve their problems and realise new opportunities across the world.   
    Oxford Economics (www.OxfordEconomics.com) is one of the world’s foremost independent global advisory firms, providing reports, forecasts and analytical tools on 200 countries, more than 100 industrial sectors and over 3,000 cities. Oxford Economics is a key adviser to corporate, financial and government decision-makers and thought leaders. Our global team is highly skilled in a full range of research techniques and thought leadership capabilities, from econometric modelling, scenario framing, and economic impact analysis to market surveys, case studies, expert panels, and web analytics.
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  • President Faure Meets President Castro

    In furtherance of his State Visit to Cuba, President Danny Faure was received by President Raul Castro yesterday evening at the Presidential Palace. The two leaders had a thorough exchange on issues of mutual interest on the international scene. Cuba and Seychelles share common values and aspirations in their common quest to advance the ideals of peace, understanding and respect among nations. These include respect for principles of international law, respect for the the sovereignty and independence of nations as well as espousing the values of solidarity among peoples.

    The enhancement of the education and health sectors were the focus of discussions at the bilateral level. At the request of President Faure, President Castro has agreed that the 15 Seychellois medical students currently studying in various universities in the country can pursue their specialization programmes immediately after graduating from their respective medical schools, with no interruption in their studies. “This will allow Seychelles to be better endowed with much needed specialist doctors in a shorter time frame, and allow us to better plan for our future needs in the medical sector” President Faure stated.

    President Faure expressed his appreciation to President Castro for the support received from Cuba over the past three decades by sending doctors and specialists to Seychelles. “Today there are 51 of them working in various districts. They are providing the highest quality of healthcare to our people. They have integrated easily in our communities and have earned the respect of our people” he said. “We now look to the support of Cuba in the implementation of a comprehensive programme for the treatment of diabetes, cancer, as well as increasing vaccination as part of our early childhood immunization initiative” he added.

    The opening of the Seychelles Embassy, the 114th in Havana, will provide the appropriate platform for the expansion of the scope of ties of friendship and cooperation between the two countries. These already exist in the fields of sports, agriculture and the environment.

    The meeting saw the participation from the Cuban side of Mr Bruno Rodriguez Parilla, Minster of Foreign Affairs, Mr Roqelo Sierra, Vice Minister for Bilateral Affairs, and from the Seychelles side by Mrs Macsuzy Mondon, Designated Minister, and Ambassador Claude Morel, Foreign Secretary.

    As part of the program for his State Visit in Cuba, President Faure prior to meeting President Castro also laid a wreath to honor Cuban National Hero, Jose Marti, at the Memorial Monument in the Revolution Square.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Seychelles.

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  • ECA hosts workshop for policymakers on IPCC activities and findings

    The Economic Commission for Africa’s African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) on Sunday hosted a workshop for policymakers on the activities and findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) where climate experts presented the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) findings as well as the work of the IPCC in the coming years.

    The workshop was also meant to promote knowledge about the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) cycle work plan, priorities of the IPCC, its role, processes and activities.

    AR6 will assess scientific findings that have been published since the IPCC’s last comprehensive report, the Fifth Assessment Report, which was completed in 2014 and provided crucial input into the Paris Agreement on climate change that was adopted in December 2015.

    Those in attendance included Ambassadors accredited to Ethiopia, representatives from climate sensitive ministries in Ethiopia, lawmakers, officials from the Pan African Chamber of Commerce, United Nations agencies in Ethiopia, international non-governmental organizations and members of the Ethiopian business community.

    Special Initiatives Division Director (SID), Fatima Denton, who presented a paper on climate-resilient pathways, said with the historic Paris Agreement on Climate Change now firmly in place, “many are asking how can we now begin to look at climate change in a different way, looking at it from a business model; from an opportunity perspective and trying to understand exactly how we can use it as a pretext to model our development trajectories and to ensure that inasmuch as we are talking about the impact of climate change we are also talking about how we can reach and achieve food security”.

    “These are all essential staples on our radar in Africa and I think the IPCC findings should begin to give us some elements of how we can begin to embrace all these problems, how we can translate them into our national development processes and how we can ensure that these messages are speaking to our consumers and are resonating with our continent,” the SID Director told the workshop.

    IPCC Bureau members and authors participated in the workshop and another one held Saturday as part of a two-day outreach event, attended by policymakers, practitioners, scientists, civil society, business and media representatives ahead of the IPCC’s five-day scoping meeting that begins May 1, 2017 in Addis Ababa, to draft the outline of the Sixth Assessment Report. The meeting will bring together 200 experts from some 60 countries.

    Scientists presented the latest IPCC report, the AR5, which found that the world has the means to limit global warming and build a more prosperous and sustainable future, but that pathways to limit warming to 2ºC relative to pre-industrial levels would require substantial emissions reductions over the next few decades.

    “We need to deploy a range of mitigation measures to combat climate change,” said Gian-Kasper Plattner of the IPCC’s Technical Support Unit, adding lifestyle behavioral changes like flying less were also important.

    The scientists and the lawmakers discussed the IPCC findings and what they envisage for the future as well as plans for the Sixth Assessment cycle in the context of the Paris Agreement, including the production of the IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming to 1.5 degrees Celcius above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty.

    The IPCC is a UN body that assesses the science related to climate change to provide policymakers with regular scientific assessments concerning climate change, its implications and risks, as well as recommend adaptation and mitigation strategies.

    Its assessments provide governments, at all levels, with scientific information that they can use to develop climate policies.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

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  • Seychelles and Cuba to Enhance Cooperation in Disaster Risk and Management

    In the margins of his State Visit in Cuba, the President of the Republic of Seychelles, Mr Danny Faure also held discussions with Colonel Luis Angel Macareno Veliz, the Deputy Head of the Nations Civil Defense General Staff responsible for Disaster Risk Management.

    Accompanied by other Cuban partnering agencies such as Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment, Col. Macareno Veliz presented to the Seychelles Presidential delegation with an overview of the Cuban Disaster Risk Management system.

    Cuba is highly respected in the disaster management community and is known for having one of the best systems and institutional structures implemented for disaster risk reduction, management and response. The Cuban model has been widely adopted and is referred to as one of the most practical, especially for developing countries.

    Cooperation between Seychelles and Cuba in the field of Disaster Risk Management exits for a number of years however following the successful discussions during President Faure’s State visits, both Seychelles and Cuba have agreed on a set time frame and new target to conclude the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding that will ensure greater cooperation in the exchange of expertise and good practices on matters related to disaster reduction  management.

    President Faure thanked Col. Macareno Veliz and his team for receiving them and expressed his sincere wish that both countries continue to build even greater ties in the field of Disaster Risk Management.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Seychelles.

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  • Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination hears from non-governmental organizations from Kenya

    The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination this morning met with representatives of civil society organizations from Kenya to discuss the situation of racial discrimination in this country, which the Committee will review later this week.

    The Committee will also consider reports of Cyprus and Bulgaria this week, but there were no non-governmental organizations present to talk about the situation in those countries.

    Representatives of civil society said that that the Vision 2030, Kenya’s development blueprint, recognised that no society could gain social cohesion if significant sections of that society live in abject poverty, and included equity as a recurrent principle in all its economic, social and political programmes. They drew the attention to the situation of pastoralists in 14 counties who suffered forced evictions, burning of homes, displacement, and silent killing of people and their livestock by paramilitary forces. In those counties, land issue loomed large. The Committee should urge Kenya to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms of the pastoralist communities, and to ensure the realization of the right to freedom of movement and residence within the State as guaranteed by the Constitution. Furthermore, the Committee should undertake research into the racial relation in Laikipia and Baringo counties.

    Four indigenous people civil society organizations – Indigenous Movement for Peace Advancement and Conflict Transformation, Yaaku People’s Organization, Maasai Women for Education and Economic Development, and Samburu Women Trust – spoke in a joint statement.

    Live webcast of the Committee’s public meetings is available at http://webtv.un.org

    The Committee will reconvene in public at 10 a.m. tomorrow, 2 May to discuss its working methods. In the afternoon of 2 May, the review of the report of Kenya will start.

    Consideration of reports of Cyprus and Bulgaria will start on 3 and 4 May respectively.

    Statements on Kenya

    Four indigenous people civil society organizations, including Indigenous Movement for Peace Advancement and Conflict Transformation, Yaaku People’s Organization, Maasai Women for Education and Economic Development, and Samburu Women Trust  delivered a joint statement, in which they addressed the gaps and challenges to the effective implementation of the Convention in Kenya.  The Constitution required the State to put in place an affirmative action programme for minorities and marginalized groups, and the Vision 2030, Kenya’s development blueprint, recognized that no society could gain social cohesion if significant sections of that society lived in abject poverty, and included equity as a recurrent principle in all its economic, social and political programmes.

    The indigenous people civil society organizations drew the attention to the situation of pastoralists living in the 14 counties who suffered forced evictions, burning of homes, displacement, and silent killing of people and their livestock by paramilitary forces. The land issue loomed large in those counties, the speakers said.

    The Committee should urge Kenya to ensure the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms of the pastoralist communities, the right to freedom of movement and residence within the State as guaranteed by the Constitution, and undertake research of a fact-finding mission into the racial relation in Laikipia and Baringo counties.

    Discussion

    NICOLÁS MARUGÁN, Committee Expert and Rapporteur for Kenya, inquired about the definition of racial discrimination in the Constitution and the country’s legislation, the payment of school fees for non-citizens as stipulated by the Basic Education Act, ethnic profiling by security forces in the context of counter-terrorism. Access to justice seemed to be out of financial reach of many Kenyans, including those who were victims of racial discrimination. What was the level of satisfaction of people displaced by the post-election violence in 2007 with remedies they received?

    Other Experts noted the pattern of denial of economic, social and cultural rights which tied in with under-servicing of some counties, the situation in slums and who were the inhabitants of those slums, and land issues. Who were the marginalized and historically disadvantaged people in Kenya? How did the politics and ethnicity play into exclusion and marginalization? Experts also asked about the management of communal land and the recognition of indigenous people in Kenya.

    Responding, civil society representatives said that the basic education act had not addressed the particular issues of pastoralists who continued to be marginalized in accessing education and excluded from it because of prohibitive costs. 

    There was no legal aid available to the poor, so all those evicted from their land to make room for multinationals could not access justice; some even feared going to courts and fighting for their rights, simply because they did not know the way of life in cities, were illiterate, did not know the procedures nor where to start in vindicating their rights. Access to justice was further constrained by high-level of corruption in the judicial system, and the fact that people were afraid to go against some individuals who held wealth and power.

    Kenya will have elections in August 2017, and ethnic agendas were on the rise, which would inevitably lead to a flare up of conflict in the Laikipia county between pastoralists and the newly arrived who were those displaced earlier and settled in the county by the political decision which was ethnically motivated.

    Education was free for indigenous people, but it was not accessible. Indigenous people were mainly nomadic pastoralists who moved around, distances to school ranged from 20 to 50 kilometres, and traveling those distances was not safe because of proliferation of guns and volatile security situation.

    Land was an issue that people were not ready to discuss openly; a large proportion was owned by cartels and its people were sitting in central and local governments. A lot of land was given to conservation; the Government was not present to provide security and services indigenous territories; and indigenous people were not being consulted and included in decision making concerning resource exploitation, such as oil in Turkana, which was taking place on their territories. Pastoralists owned land communally, and it was the community which defined occupation and the right to use the land. The community land act was taking effect, and regulation was being developed on how communal land should be registered. There was no law that recognized pastoralists or hunter-gatherers as ‘indigenous’, which was a heavily contested term in Kenya.

    With regard to the pattern of denial of economic, social and cultural rights, civil society representatives informed the Committee that currently Kenya had a devolved system of government, and had set up the affirmative fund for eleven counties which had suffered historic injustice and neglect by post-colonial governments.

    The land in the Laikipia county had been changing ownership; after decolonization, all land in Kenya had been leased back for 99 years to the people to whom it had historically belonged – everywhere but in the Laikipia county where it was given to colonialists who had fought the war. 

    Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG).

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  • Humanitarian Coordinator a.i. calls for protection of civilians in and around Aburoc

    The Humanitarian Coordinator ad interim for South Sudan, Serge Tissot, has demanded that parties to the conflict uphold their responsibilities to protect thousands of Shilluk civilians sheltering in and around Aburoc following the resumption of the government offensive and clashes in several locations on the West Bank in Upper Nile last week.
     

    “Civilians in Aburoc are living in fear, not knowing what each day will bring,” said Mr. Tissot. “I call on the Government to respect the civilian nature of these settlements and ensure they are not subject to attacks, and call on the opposition forces to ensure that areas highly populated by civilians are, and remain, demilitarised.”

    Thousands of civilians have arrived into Aburoc in recent days. Many have walked for days on foot–without access to sufficient water due to conflict along the River Nile–and are arriving exhausted and weak. Thousands are reportedly now moving toward Sudan out of fear of potential future attacks. Prices are exorbitant and transport is inadequate, so many people are having to walk.

    “The first priority for civilians in Aburoc is, of course, their protection,” said Mr. Tissot. “Many are fleeing to Sudan, and our colleagues on the other side of the border will do all that is possible to assist them. However, it is entirely unacceptable that they are being forced to flee their home land.”

    On 23 and 24 April, humanitarian organizations relocated staff from Kodok and Aburoc amidst the spread of conflict on the West Bank. Several courageous local staff remain in the community and are doing all they can to assist people in need. However, key humanitarian assets were looted by opposition forces and other actors in recent days.

    “I demand the immediate return of all looted humanitarian assets in Aburoc, which are absolutely vital to life-saving humanitarian action. Without these assets, we are unable to operate in this area, which is very remote and incredibly logistically challenging.” said Mr. Tissot. “I also demand immediate guarantees from authorities that they will ensure the safety and security of humanitarian staff and assets and respect humanitarian space. We are outraged that humanitarians are again having to condemn unacceptable actions by authorities which ultimately increase the suffering of people in dire need.”

    Humanitarians are exploring all feasible options to provide assistance to those fleeing the fighting but are facing major challenges, including lack of fuel in the area. An inter-agency team visited Aburoc on 29 April to see the situation first-hand and the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has released funds that will support the scale-up of emergency operations in locations where civilians are arriving.

    “This operation is the true definition of life-saving,” said Mr. Tissot. “I therefore call on both parties to ensure immediate, free and unhindered humanitarian access to civilians, wherever they may flee, including for trucks to safely access the river and carry water to locations where IDPs are sheltering.”

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

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  • The Chairperson of the African Union Commission welcomes the UN Security Council Resolution on Western Sahara

    The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, His Excellency Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat, welcomed the unanimous adoption by the Members of the UN Security Council of the resolution 2351 (2017), which extended the mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) until 30 April 2018.

    The Chairperson particularly hailed the constructive spirit and the resolve that guided the deliberations of the UN Security Council to move forward the stalled peace process and to support in this respect the UN Secretary-General’s determination to relaunch the negotiating process with the aim of reaching a durable solution to the conflict, which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.

    The Chairperson also underlined the necessity, as emphasized by the resolution, of an effective MINURSO in overseeing the cease-fire Agreement and the imperative for both parties to respect the Agreement and to fully cooperate with the Mission. In this regard, He welcomed the withdrawal of the elements of Morocco and of SADR from the Guerguerat Buffer Strip, which constitutes an important step towards easing tensions in the territory and thus creating the most needed environment for the international community and the two parties to focus efforts on the political process.

    The Chairperson, within the Joint UN-AU Framework for Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security signed in April 2017, reiterated his determination to work closely with the UN Secretary-General towards the resumption of the negotiations process and finding a durable solution to this conflict in compliance with the AU Decisions and UN Resolutions.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of African Union Commission (AUC).

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  • Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on South Sudan

    Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General:

    We are disturbed by the escalation of violence and subsequent suffering of civilians in South Sudan as a result of the recent government offensive. We urge the Government and other warring parties to cease hostilities, uphold their responsibility to protect civilians and cooperate with the United Nations and other humanitarian actors to ensure safe access to all civilians in imminent danger along the West Bank of the River Nile.

    The renewed upsurge in fighting represents a callous and blatant disregard of the pledges made during the 25 March 2017 IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development) Summit to implement a ceasefire and to facilitate humanitarian access.

    There can be no military solution to the crisis in South Sudan. We hope regional and international partners will join us in encouraging the parties to return urgently to the negotiating table, and we remain committed to working with the African Union and IGAD to secure a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations – Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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