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The Secretary-General welcomes the 20th anniversary on 1 March of the entry into force of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention – a Convention that has saved countless lives, stopped mutilation and injury and enabled the revitalization of livelihoods.

Geir Pedersen, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria, briefed the Security Council in an open meeting this morning and said that it is essential to have direct and effective engagement with the Government of Syria and the opposition. He welcomed the readiness of the parties to work with him, and said he believes that there is a shared sentiment that the battlefield developments may be winding down, although the conflict is far from over.

Today, the Security Council extended the mandate of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea Bissau (UNIOGBIS) for one year, until 28 February 2020.

Yesterday, the Council adopted resolution 2457 (2019) in support of the Silencing the Guns in Africa Initiative of the African Union. The resolution represents substantial political backing from the Security Council to the top priorities of the African Union.

The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock – during a three-day mission to Zimbabwe – today announced the allocation of US$10 million from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to help reach more than 5.3 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in Zimbabwe following drought and a number of economic shocks.

The Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr. Tedros, says he is deeply concerned following an arson attack last night on an Ebola treatment facility managed by Doctors Without Borders in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC), North Kivu Province.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that at least 10,000 people reportedly returned to Nigeria’s northeastern town of Rann from Cameroon yesterday. These civilians were among more than 40,000 Nigerian women, men and children who originally fled Rann following the deadly attacks by non-state armed groups in December 2018.

In Haiti, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Mamadou Diallo, and the Prime Minister, Jean-Henry Céant, launched the 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan for Haiti. It seeks US $126 million to provide critical humanitarian assistance and protection services to 1.3 million Haitians this year.

The Resident Coordinator Special Purpose Trust Fund web portal was launched this week to increase transparency and accountability in the UN system. The website displays – in real time – the commitments, contributions and expenditures recorded for the Special Purpose Trust Fund, which manages all the financial transactions of the new Resident Coordinator system.

The United Nations Road Safety Strategy was launched in Geneva today. The strategy is based on an approach that manages the interaction between speed, road infrastructure, and road-user behavior to prevent crashes.

Our thanks go to the Marshall Islands for paying their budget dues in full, bringing the Honour Roll up to 69.

Today, we join the Secretary-General in wishing a very happy 100th birthday to Sir Brian Urquhart, the legendary long-time UN official. The Secretary-General in a statement, said that Sir Brian’s imprint on the United Nations has been so profound as that of anyone in the Organization’s history. As one of the Organization’s earliest employees, he set the standard for international civil service: principled, dedicated and impartial.

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Office of the Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General