21 May 2013
Alessandra Vellucci, Chief, Press and External Relations Section of the United Nations Information Service in Geneva, chaired the briefing which was also attended by Spokespersons for the Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, United Nations High Commission for Refugees, the United Nations Children’s Fund, World Health Organization, International Labour Organization, World Food Programme and International Organization for Migration.
Panos Moumtzis, Regional Refugee Coordinator for Syrian Refugees (based in Amman) for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said he had just come from operations in the field and would highlight the latest developments affecting Syrian refugees. Looking at the Syria crisis since the beginning of the year they had seen the situation continue to rapidly spiral downwards. There was a significant deterioration, particularly since 1 January, and with the start of the summer the situation seemed to be further deteriorating. The number of refugees registered for assistance in neighbouring countries had now surpassed the 1.5 million mark. That represented over 140 per cent of UNHCR’s planning assumption until June 2013. The continuous deterioration of the situation forced humanitarian agencies (and Mr. Moumtzis specified here that he spoke on behalf of some 80 United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations that worked together in neighbouring countries supporting refugees) to look together at increased planning for the humanitarian response and needs until the end of the year.
The situation in the neighbouring countries and movement of refugees across the border was obviously a direct consequence of the increased level of insecurity inside Syria, and in particular in areas of conflict. UNHCR was increasingly seeing civilians, entire villages, leaving, saying they had found themselves with no other option but to head towards the border. Most refugees who crossed had already been displaced at least once, twice or even three times. People often moved from one location to the next before crossing into another country.
Quoting the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) humanitarian bulletin which had just been released, Mr. Moumtzis said that 6.8 million Syrians were estimated to be in humanitarian need inside Syria. Of those 6.8 million Syrians, 4.25 million were internally displaced.
Just 12 months ago, in March 2012, one million Syrians were in need of assistance in Syria. Today that figure had increased by an additional 5.8 million. The current estimation of 6.8 million Syrians in need inside Syria, in addition to the 1.5 million Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries, brought the total number of Syrians in need of humanitarian assistance today to 8.3 million. That represented about 38 per cent of the Syrian population. It was the highest figure reached so far in the crisis where UNHCR saw the humanitarian situation was rapidly spiralling downwards, in particular in the last 12 months.
Turning to neighbouring countries, the number of refugees in Lebanon was now 500,000, Mr. Moumtzis said. What was unique about Lebanon was that the Syrian refugees were hosted in 1,200 villages or communities. They were very spread out throughout the country. Such a significant number of refugees in a tiny country like Lebanon (in addition to the Syrian workers and the Palestinian refugees who were there) with growing unemployment and insecurity, tremendous political pressure inside the country and the complexity of regional politics made the Lebanese situation extremely dangerous.
UNHCR had the same concerns about Jordan where close to half a million Syrian refugees had crossed the border. Again, growing unemployment, increased prices, public discontent and growing concern about where it was all going to go made everyone very worried.
UNHCR was revising its current humanitarian planning for both inside and outside of Syria and would present it on 7 June 2013 when they would announce the latest figures in terms of population, humanitarian needs and refugees, as well as the revised budget estimates.
Mr. Moumtzis said that 75 per cent of refugees continued to be in non-camp settings - only a quarter were in refugee camps. UNHCR continued to roll out the construction of additional camps. Three additional camps had been built in Turkey, one in northern Iraq, one in Jordan (Azraq camp) and there was a possibility of using transit sites in Lebanon as well. That was part of UNHCR’s response-surge-mechanism to increase the humanitarian response by continuing to deploy additional staff and buying additional material aid as needed. UNHCR was now very much worried about the coming summer months and in particular the increase in temperatures and the associated health problems linked to water and sanitation. It was doing everything possible to make sure there was no outbreak of health issues in the neighbouring countries.
An additional measure to cope with the significant increase in numbers of new arrivals was an increase in the UNHCR registration capacity. Registration was a vital protection tool because it meant a person could get an ID card - a piece of paper with their name on it - and recognition (in agreement with the host country) that that person or family had fled Syria and had to right to refugee status in the neighbouring countries. Mr. Moumtzis was pleased to report that due to a tripling of capacity - a 300 per cent increase, not only in terms of staff and locations but also the hours of registration, from dawn until midnight every day - the waiting period for registration had been brought down to 30 days or less. That had been UNHCR’s objectives, to make sure that when Syrian refugees approached their registration centre that they could get an appointment within 30 days, and to reduce the waiting list.
Currently, of the 1.5 million refugees, 1.3 million were registered and 200,000 were waiting for registration. For example, in Lebanon alone last month UNHCR registered 90,000 refugees in 30 days. Registration capacity was continuously augmented to be able to cope with increased numbers. Registration was crucial because it led not only to increased protection for refugees, as he said before, but also to assistance, such as food from the World Food Programme and access to health services, as well as help for special needs, gender-based violence, child-protection and disabilities.
Mr. Moumtzis highlighted that as numbers grew the gap between what UNHCR was able to give and the actual needs would also continue to grow. UNHCR was grateful to Kuwait for its $300 million contribution several weeks ago; other donors had responded too, but they were still at a point where the needs outnumbered by far the resources available. Every day now UNHCR and other humanitarian organizations had to make heartbreaking decisions as to where allocating their limited resources. It was one of the most difficult things to do, sitting and looking at needs - whether it was a cancer patient, a child needing a heart operation or other assistance in every country – and being able to prioritize between countries: that is, decide what was the most urgent and most life saving action to take and what would cover the largest number of people in need in the most effective way.
Turning to Jordan, in the last four days there had been a significant drop in the number of refugees arriving there. Since February there had consistently been 1,000 to 3,000 refugees crossing the border into Jordan every day. In the last two weeks those figures had been 1,000 - 2,000 per day and in the last four nights that number had dropped to almost zero. Obviously UNHCR was monitoring the situation extremely closely to find the reason for the change in movement. UNHCR understood that the people who fled had found some difficulty in crossing the border. Avoiding speculation, Mr. Moumtzis said there had been reports from people living in border villages of an increase in fighting and the sound of fighting, particularly at night. The handful of refugees who had managed to cross had spoken of difficulties in crossing the border.
UNHCR’s position was to ensure that any civilian or refugees who wished to cross the border and flee the country was able to do so. It continued to discuss the matter with all stakeholders, including the Jordanian Government, to ensure people could cross and reach safety without difficulty. The concern was protecting civilians from being caught up in insecure situations. If the security situation, particularly in the south of Jordan was changing, it was important to ensure that civilians could reach safety. UNHCR had to defend the principle, the human right of asylum and make sure it was respected by everybody.
Marixie Mercado, for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said they were extremely concerned about the safety of civilians in the embattled city of Qusayr in Syria and feared that thousands of children and women could be trapped there by fighting. Qusayr, a city near the Lebanese border, had a population of about 30,000. Between 12,000 and 20,000 people, many of them children, were thought to still be inside the city.
In recent days, hundreds of families had fled into Lebanon and various areas in Syria. UNICEF and other UN agencies and partners were providing much needed humanitarian assistance including food, clothes and hygiene kits to many of those who had been displaced. In Hasiaa close to Homs, UNICEF and partners were supporting some 500 families made up of women, children and elderly from Qusayr and nearby villages. They were joining an additional 1,144 families who had previously fled Qusayr where fighting had flared over the past month. Many of the families left at night with little or no possessions. Aside from providing clothing and hygiene kits, UNICEF and partners would also start trucking in critically needed water and would work to improve the sanitation in the coming days.
The situation was desperate. Hasiaa got cold at night and sporadic rains had made life for children and the weakest particularly precarious as families struggled to find shelter in the area. Many had cramped into two schools, unfinished buildings and tents. UNICEF repeated its call on all parties to comply with their international obligations to protect children and women from conflict.
Questions from journalists on Syria
Answering questions from journalists, Panos Moumtzis for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said that at a high-level meeting on 7 June they would present the revised Syria Humanitarian Assistance Response Plan (SHARP), which was the humanitarian assistance plan inside Syria, and the Regional Response Plan for the Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries, and attached budgets until 31 December 2013. Ms. Amos, the Emergency Relief Coordinator would make the presentation alongside High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres. Other United Nations agency principals might also attend for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), World Food Programme (WFP) and United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
Mr. Moumtzis answered a further question about Lebanon saying there had been an increase in Syrians crossing into Lebanon, particularly from rural Damascus and Damascus city itself. Previously the majority had come from Homs. Many went in particular to the Bekaa and areas of northern Lebanon, but also to Beirut, Mount Lebanon, Nabatiye - basically the whole country. UNHCR had put dots on a map of Lebanon to show where Syrian refugees were going but by the end of the exercise the map was covered in red dots: Lebanon was significantly devastated by the Syrian crisis because there was not a single village, town or location where you would not find a Syrian refugees looking for shelter, a place for a child, health support, a school place and so on.
There was also an increase in the number of Syrian refugees who had been in Lebanon for some time and were now coming forward. As they arrived, maybe 12 months ago, they had come with a little bit of cash and had means to support themselves for the first year. Now those funds had been depleted and they also realised that registration was an important step in terms of protection. A main concern was that registration could jeopardize relatives back home but of course registration was strictly confidential and that had increased people’s confidence in it. UNHCR had also seen increased pressure on host families, and in the plan to be presented on 7 June a significant section would be included on how to support host families.
Marixie Mercado, for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), answered a question about the estimates of 12,000 and 20,000 people thought to still be inside Qusayr, saying that UNICEF based the estimate on their knowledge of the population of the city before the fighting, and all other information came from remote sources, whether the Syrian Red Crescent or others. It was a wide estimate. Those people’s most urgent needs were protection from the fighting and bombardment going on in the city right now. Those who were leaving Qusayr needed shelter, water and sanitation: all their basic needs needed to be satisfied. The needs were just enormous right now.
Mr. Moumtzis (UNHCR) answered a journalist asking how many people had left Qusayr saying he did not have the numbers yet but hoped to have them soon. He also said that they had scaled up their emergency plans, in particular in Lebanon, and also in Damascus and other areas. It was hoped that would not be needed but it was vital to ensure that basic relief items were in place to deal with the crisis. Regionally they had capacity to support an additional 350,000 refugees in Syria’s neighbouring countries.
Ms. Mercado (UNICEF) responded to a question about what had happened to the men in Qusayr, saying that displaced women were asking the same question. She did not know any more than they did.
Regarding a question about the drop in refugees crossing into Jordan, Mr. Moumtzis (UNHCR), said it was extraordinary that all of a sudden the numbers had dropped from 2,000 refugees per day to almost zero, around just five people a day. They heard the sounds of fighting very close on the other side. Sometimes if the fighting was very close people would move in a different direction, to another safer place. UNHCR would rather not speculate and did not know what was happening. They were not present on the other side of the border and so could not give a correct reason or understanding as to why that was happening or not happening. However, they spoke with various people on the ground. Something was going on, and if people were being prevented from crossing the border they wanted to ensure that the principle of asylum was respected. Finding out what was going on was a top priority for UNHCR.
Of course there was a huge link between humanitarian assistance and the political situation, Mr. Moumtzis (UNHCR) said in answer to another question. It was as if they were the fire brigade that went in to put out a fire while the root cause of the fire was the political situation that had needed a solution for the last two years. As humanitarian actors they provided regular briefings to the political side, to the Security Council, to the High Commissioner, the Emergency Relief Coordinator. They raised their voices and showed the humanitarian consequences of a political crisis that still had no solution, said Mr. Moumtzis. All efforts to bring about a solution so far had not seen any results and that had an immediate impact on the humanitarian situation. The longer the crisis went on without a political situation the bigger the consequences were in terms of humanitarian impact; the fact was that they were talking today of about 38 per cent – almost 40 per cent – of the Syrian population being affected. In the last 24, or even 12, months the situation had rapidly deteriorated. Humanitarian actors continued to raise their voices in an effort to put more pressure on and make sure the whole world knew what was happening to civilians, to women, to children. To put more pressure and responsibility onto the international community and everybody involved in the conflict to bring about a quick solution to end the tremendous impact on the lives of civilians.
Alessandra Vellucci, for the United Nations Information Service in Geneva reminded journalists that the message from Mr. Moumtzis was exactly what the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said every time he spoke about violence towards the Syrian population, and in his last press briefing with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lazrov (the transcript had been emailed to journalists) the Secretary-General had said that the violence would only end with a negotiated political solution.
Melissa Fleming for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said a cholera epidemic declared by the Niger government on May 11 had left 7 people dead in the west of the country. Two refugees had died - a 45-year-old man and a 3-year-old boy - and others been affected. The two refugees had come from Mali to the Mangaize camp which hosted 15,000 in the Tillaberi region. Niger was currently hosting some 50,000 Malian refugees.
UNHCR had been informed that the contamination came from the local community, so UNHCR and partners were not only taking measures within the refugee camps but also in the local community. Cholera was typically contracted by consuming contaminated water, believed to be from the nearby river. Details of the response were in the press release.
Measles Campaign in Central African Republic
Marixie Mercado, for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said that in the Central African Republic (CAR) following months of extreme violence and the almost total collapse of law and order, UNICEF together with the Ministry of Health was set to vaccinate all 125,000 young children in the capital, Bangui, against measles. The campaign was in response to an outbreak that had seen at least eight children test positive for the disease.
The campaign represented an important first step in efforts by the Ministry of Health and partners to re-establish measles immunisation across the country. Outside of Bangui, where UNICEF was able to provide fuel to keep health centres operational, the entire cold chain system had broken down. Health centres had been looted, including fridges and solar panels, and health staff had yet to return to their posts.
The vaccination drive was possible because of a slight improvement in security in Bangui in recent weeks. UNICEF's health officer in Bangui said yesterday that the violence had abated somewhat – there was not as much gunfire in the daytime, and while there was still pillaging, it was on a smaller scale than last month.
A quarter of a million vaccines arrived in country on 15 May, including 100,000 vaccines purchased by funds donated by the airline easyJet. Vaccines had been distributed to all of Bangui’s eight districts, and hundreds of vaccinators and social mobilisers were in place. District-by-district drives were being planned immediately after the Bangui campaign.
Funding was a major constraint. Before the March 24 coup, UNICEF had received just $7 million of its $18 million appeal for 2013. Funding needs had risen significantly since, and a revised appeal would be issued shortly.
World Health Assembly
Fadéla Chaib for the World Health Organization (WHO), briefed journalists on the World Health Assembly (WHA) which opened yesterday. Meetings would be held today on the WHO programme budget and the WHO reform agenda. A technical briefing would also be given today on health partnerships on improving health levels especially in low and middle income countries, with the participation of the Director-General and several ministers in Room XII at 12:30 p.m. The World Health Assembly plenary would start at 2 p.m.
Ms Chaib highlighted a side event that would take place on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in Room XXIV, and was co-organized with China, to provide an update on Influenza A(H7N9), and also on Novel Coronavirus situation. Updates from national, scientific, agricultural, veterinary and public health perspectives would be given. The critical importance of the International Health Regulations to such health security risks would also be highlighted. Dr. Keiji Fukuda, WHO Assistant Director-General for Health Security and Environment would answer questions at the event which was organized by WHO with the Permanent Mission of China and would have interpretation in all six official United Nations languages.
Ms. Chaib also said the plenary would be followed by an update on the situation regarding Influenza A(H7N9). A closed meeting on non-communicable diseases would also be held today. Answering a question on the meeting held yesterday on that issue, Ms Chaib said it was decided to establish a drafting group on non-communicable diseases and a discussion would hopefully take place in plenary on Thursday.
Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction
Adam Rogers, for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) highlighted the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction which was taking place in Geneva at the International Conference Centre this week.
Jo Scheuer, Coordinator and Team Leader for the Disaster Risk Reduction and Recovery Team for United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said this year’s Global Platform, which happened every two years, was very significant as it was a milestone in the negotiations for the follow-up agreement to the Global Framework of Action which expired in 2015. It was also a milestone in the discussions for the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Often when people spoke about disasters they talked about natural disasters, or disaster events, which was wrong. Disasters were not natural. They were caused by natural hazards but they became a disaster because of development going wrong. For example, schools were built in earthquake areas without being built to earthquake standards. Roads were built in areas prone to flooding. People did not make infrastructure resistant to natural hazards, thus putting people’s lives at risk. Disasters increased poverty levels, reduced enrolment in schools, cost billions of dollars in terms of damage to infrastructure. UNDP could provide more information on that.
It was fundamental to acknowledge that disaster risk reduction was a core development issue. Today UNDP would co-host an event to demonstrate how investment in disaster risk reduction could enable human development. The aim over the next few years was to integrate risk reduction into the development agenda. More details here: http://www.preventionweb.net/globalplatform/2013/
Marixie Mercado, for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) highlighted a Global Platform side-event led by children and young people taking place on Wednesday 22 May between 3 and 4 p.m. at the International Conference Centre. The Children and Disaster Risk Reduction: The Resilient Future We Want side-event was a follow-up to the 2011 Global Platform, and outcomes of the event would include priorities children and youth wanted to be reflected in the consultations of the post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction.
Tropical Storm Mahasen
Jens Laerke for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) drew journalists’ attention to a statement put out by the Humanitarian Coordinator in Myanmar. After the Tropical Storm Mahasen which luckily did not affect Myanmar as seriously as feared, the Humanitarian Coordinator took the opportunity to highlight the start of the rainy season in that area and to give further impetus to the work of reconciliation in Myanmar.
“Now is an opportune time to intensify trust-building between all parties in Rakhine State,” said the Humanitarian Coordinator. “Community and religious leaders from all quarters are vital to ensure that the voice of every community is heard, and that vulnerable people receive the assistance they need.” The humanitarian community working there on the ground saw the preparations for the storm as an opportunity to further review relocation and how response work could be improved in the future.
Jumbe Omari Jumbe, for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said that IOM was currently assisting the authorities in the Dominican Republic with identifying and assessing a group of 54 unaccompanied Haitian minors who were victims of trafficking. 16 of the group were aged three years old or younger.
The group was rescued by the Dominican authorities on 16 May, when the police broke up a human trafficking ring which was exploiting the children by forcing them to beg on street corners in the capital, Santo Domingo. The raids identified 109 irregular migrants, of whom 54 were the above-mentioned children. The whole group were taken into temporary custody while investigators conduct initial interviews and the authorities find appropriate shelters for the unaccompanied minors. IOM was providing food, clothing, and non-food items and would carry out family tracing and family reunification if necessary.
IOM’s assistance to victims of trafficking in the Dominican Republic was funded by the US State Department’s Office to Combat and Monitor Trafficking in Persons (J/TIP) and Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (BPRM). A recent survey by the Dominican National Office of Statistics indicates there are some 458,000 Haitian migrants in the Dominican Republic.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Jumbe Omari Jumbe, for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said that one of the most infamous reputations of the rebellion in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) was the use of mass rape as a war weapon.
Since the conflict erupted in the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide, cases of rape and gender-based violence (SGBV) were on the rise. IOM often heard of new abominations whenever the rebels made a new move. The latest United Nations report said that in November 2012, in only three days, 200 women were raped in one place, in the eastern DRC. The Province orientale was where cases of rape and gender-based violence were most often reported.
The IOM had been working with the local authorities on various programmes to combat SGBV since 2010. A new initiative facilitated economic relationships between the wives of police officers and women in the local community in Province orientale. The aim was to build bridges between the police and the community to facilitate reporting of rape cases and to combat a problem that had now reached epidemic proportions.
Jumbe Omari Jumbe, for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said the 4th Global Meeting of Chairs and Secretariats of Consultative Processes on Migration (RCPs) would open tomorrow (22 May) in Lima, Peru. The event, which would be attended by IOM Director General William Lacy Swing and Deputy Director General Laura Thompson, would focus on “Defining the Place of RCPs in a Changing International Migration Landscape.”
Part of the conference would deliberate on the question of how global dialogue processes such as the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) and the UN General Assembly High Level Dialogue on Migration and Development, which would take place in New York on 3-4 October, 2013, could best interact with similar migration dialogues that were taking place within and across regions.
WFP in Africa 2012
Elisabeth Byrs, for the World Food Programme (WFP), spoke about the launch of the WFP in Africa 2012 report which showed that more than half of the 97 million people assisted by WFP in 2012 were in Africa.
Ms. Byrs said that the report was rich in information and pointed out that WFP was today
the single largest purchaser of food assistance in Africa. For the period 2003 to 2012, total food procurement from Africa amounted to more than US$2 billion, which was infused into local economies. She also said that in 2012, WFP provided assistance to around 97 million people, distributing 3.5 million tons of food in 80 countries. Around 1.6 million tons of that was shipped to Africa.
Alessandra Vellucci, for the United Nations Information Service in Geneva, announced that the plenary session of the Conference on Disarmament scheduled for this morning was cancelled. The Conference had been scheduled to discuss transparency in the field of disarmament. The next plenary would be held on Friday 24 May at 10 a.m. The Conference was in the second part of its annual session running from 13 May to 28 June.
Ms. Vellucci announced that the Committee against Torture began its review of the report of Japan at 10 a.m. today, and would complete the review in a meeting starting at 3 p.m. tomorrow, Wednesday 22 May, at Palais Wilson in Geneva. At 10 a.m. tomorrow the Committee would begin consideration of the report of Estonia. The Committee had so far considered the reports of the United Kingdom, Mauritania, Netherlands, Guatemala, Kenya and Bolivia. Its four-week session was to end on 31 May.
The concluding observations of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
on the reports of Japan, Iran, Jamaica, Azerbaijan, Togo, Rwanda and Denmark which it reviewed during its session that ended last Friday, should be available this afternoon on its webpage, Ms. Vellucci noted.
Ms. Vellucci announced that a press briefing would be held today, Tuesday May 21, in Press Room III at 11.30 a.m. for the release of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) Annual report. Dr. Akihiro Seita, Director of Health, UNRWA HQ in Amman, would speak. The report was embargoed until Tuesday, May 21 at 11:30.
At 12 p.m. on Wednesday 22 May, in Press Room 1, Kristalina Georgieva, European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response for the European Union – who was taking part in the "Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction" – would meet the press to discuss the humanitarian situation in Syria (following her recent visit to the camps in Jordan and Lebanon) and the crisis in the Sahel.
Ms. Vellucci also announced that the World Trade Organization would hold a press event on ‘Agriculture Negotiations’ featuring speaker Peter Ungphakorn. The event would take place in Press Room I at 2.30 p.m. on Thursday 23 May.
Hans von Rohland for the International Labour Organization (ILO) said he would have more to say at the next briefing about the annual International Labour Conference which was set to start on 5 June. He said the accreditation procedure for journalists would be made easier since all UNOG accredited journalist would only need their UNOG badge. Some restrictions applied in relation to certain events. Journalists were invited to read the message they received by email this morning.
Jean Rodriguez for the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) announced that the second Environmental Performance Review of Romania was released today. The report highlighted access to drinking water and sanitation, as well as waste management.
Catherine Sibut for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) drew attention to the release this afternoon of the Second Report of the UNCTAD Panel of Eminent Persons charged with advising the Secretary-General on how to meet the key and emerging economic development challenges of today. The report would be presented by Tarja Halonen (former president of Finland) at 3.40 p.m. in room XXVI and would be made available early this afternoon.
The representative of the International Trade Centre also attended the briefing but did not speak.
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The webcast for this briefing is available here