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The ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development started today, bringing together representatives from governments, financial institutions, civil society and the private sector.

The four-day Forum will pave the way for the High-Level Dialogue on Financing for Development that is scheduled for later this September.

Speaking at the opening this morning, the Secretary-General stressed that we have the tools to tackle poverty, inequality and climate change but we need to act more boldly to face current challenges.

He said that 2019 is a defining year for implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement, adding that financing is key to making this happen.

“Everyone, and particularly developed countries, must meet their commitments in full,” he said, referring to the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, which was adopted in 2015 by Member States as a blueprint to finance sustainable development.

At the global level, the Secretary-General said he is convening a Global Investors for Sustainable Development Alliance, comprising of the Chief Executives of large companies around the world, while at the regional and country level, the UN is working to increase access to private and public finance for developing countries.

Turning to Libya, the UN’s political and humanitarian teams continue to operate in Tripoli, providing urgent humanitarian assistance to civilians and migrants and refugees impacted by the ongoing fighting.

We have observed increased indiscriminate shelling in residential areas and attacks on civilian infrastructure, and again are reminding the parties of their obligations to follow to International Humanitarian Law. In statements to the media over the weekend, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Ghassan Salame, said that the conflict is severely impacting the lives and the living conditions of the Libyan people.

Yesterday, Mr. Salame and his Deputy, Stephanie Williams, met in Tripoli with the President of the Presidency Council, Fayez Serraj and mayors from the western part of the country. Discussions focused on the necessity for an immediate halt to the fighting; protection of civilians and provision of humanitarian assistance to civilians in need.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that thousands of civilians remain trapped in conflict-affected areas on the southern outskirts of Tripoli. Only a few hundred families have been able to be brought to safety so far due to ongoing clashes and reports of ambulance vehicles being deliberately targeted.

Close to some 3,000 refugees and migrants remain trapped in detention centers in or close to, conflict-affected areas. In some cases, guards have abandoned detention centres, leaving detainees to their own devices, without basic life-sustaining supplies such as food or water. Humanitarian partners are continuing their efforts to access these highly vulnerable people, and to provide assistance wherever access allows. So far, some 6,000 people have received some form of humanitarian assistance.

According to the UN Migration Agency (IOM), the overall number of people displaced since the eruption of conflict has reached well over 18,000.

Some 48 civilian casualties have been registered, including 13 fatalities. These number reflect only those cases that could be individually verified, and so should be considered a minimum.

The humanitarian community in Libya continues to operate on extremely low funding levels. Just six percent of the requirements of the $202 million humanitarian response plan for 2019 have been met, according to OCHA.

Turning to Syria, we welcome all efforts to find durable solutions for the people of Rukban, in southeast Syria along the border with Jordan, in line with the results of the survey carried out by the UN and Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) in February, in which 95 per cent of the people surveyed expressed a desire to leave but had also expressed significant protection concerns.

Yesterday, 1,433 people -- more than half of them were children -- left Rukban. This is the fifth group of people who’ve left Rukban in the past three weeks. To date, more than 3,600 people have exited Rukban camp for shelters in and around Homs city. Nearly 1,200 have left shelters to stay with relatives.

The UN is providing limited support to the evacuees through the Red Crescent, including food, nutrition, water, hygiene kits, and medical services. The UN has not been granted access to the shelters. We reiterate our willingness to engage more directly if granted full access to shelters, in the areas of origin and destination, and to the displaced people who are on the way to Homs.

Our humanitarian colleagues add that over the past four days,10 people have been killed and 20 people have been injured, in hostilities and explosions in Aleppo, Idleb and Hama Governorates in the northwest part of the country. We call again on all parties to the conflict to cease all violence and remind them of their obligations under International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Law.

Turning to Yemen, back here, Martin Griffiths, the Special Envoy for Yemen, briefed the Security Council by video this morning, and he announced that both parties have accepted the detailed redeployment plan prepared by Gen. Mark Lollesgaard for the first phase of redeployment from Hudaydah. The UN is encouraged by this development. He said that we will now move with all speed towards resolving the final outstanding issues related to phase two and the status of local [security] forces. The Special Envoy said that while there has been some delay in implementation, it is important to acknowledge that the ceasefire in Hudaydah is generally holding and to see tangible progress in Hudaydah, as we move forward towards convening a next round of political consultations

Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock for his part told the Council members that, while the ceasefire in Hudaydah has largely held, we have seen a pronounced escalation of violence in other parts of the country. So far in 2019, he added, nearly 200,000 suspected cases of cholera have been reported – which is almost three times as many as in the same period last year. About a quarter of cases are children under five. Mr. Lowcock said that humanitarian access problems remain; movement and customs clearances are withheld, visas denied, project agreements sidetracked, and many missions are delayed at checkpoints.

Virginia Gamba, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, told the Council members that more than 7,000 children were killed and maimed in Yemen between 2013 and the 2018, while more than 3,000 were recruited for armed service.

Yesterday marked one month since Cyclone Idai made landfall in southern Africa. In Mozambique, our humanitarian colleagues say 1.85 million people were affected by the tropical cyclone. Nearly 1.1 million people have received food assistance; and more than 900,000 have been reached with water; and over 155,000 with hygiene support, and some 18,000 with sanitation support.

In Malawi, nearly 870,000 people have been affected. Over 10,000 households out of 110,000 households have been reached with shelter assistance – that’s about 10 percent of all households requiring shelter assistance. In addition, 40,000 households have received seeds and tools.

Meanwhile in Zimbabwe, 299 deaths have been reported, and the livelihoods of over 270,000 people have been impacted. So far, humanitarian partners have assisted an estimated 30,000 people in the worst-affected areas with food; a supplementary feeding programme is currently underway, targeting 70,000 vulnerable people.

The revised Humanitarian Response Plan, which calls for US$337 million – including $282 million for the Cyclone Idai – remains just over 22 percent funded.

And lastly, we say thank you very much to Jamaica for paying its budget dues in full bringing us up to 84.

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