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Weekly News Update December 7-11, 2020

OFFICE OF THE MAYOR MAYOR’S OFFICE FOR INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE DATE: Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020 ** Media Advisory ** NYC Mayor’s Office for International Affairs, NYC Climate, UN Habitat and the Consulates General of France, Italy and the United Kingdom Celebrate the Fifth Anniversary of the Paris Agreement NEW YORK – On Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020, representatives from local governments around the world, the United Nations, civil society and the private sector will gather virtually to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement, the landmark international commitment to limit global warming. Five years later, the fight to address climate change is more critical than ever with economic, social and health challenges on the rise due to COVID-19. For subnational governments on the frontlines of climate action, the Sustainable Development Goals and Voluntary Local Review remain important tools for creating meaningful change. Panelists will reflect on the tenets of the Paris Agreement and ways that subnational governments are using the Sustainable Development Goals and the Voluntary Local Review to address climate change and other challenges within their local communities. WHAT: Representatives from the United Nations, local governments from around the world, civil society and the private sector will meet virtually to reflect on the Paris Agreement and ways that subnational governments are addressing climate change and other challenges in their communities. WHO: Penny Abeywardena, Commissioner for International Affairs; Jérémie Robert, Consul General, Consulate General of France, Ian Neilson, Deputy Executive Mayor, City of Cape Town, South Africa, David Miller, Director of International Diplomacy, C40, John Cohen, Vice President, Public Affairs, Alstom, Eddie Bautista, Executive Director, New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, Dan Zarrilli, Chief Climate Policy Officer and Director of OneNYC, City of New York. WHEN: Thursday, December 10, 2020 TIME: 9:00AM -10:00AM EST About the Mayor’s Office for International Affairs The New York City Mayor's Office for International Affairs works to foster positive relations and encourage collaboration between the international community and New York City's agencies and local neighborhoods. The Office is focused on sharing New York City's policies and best practices globally, as well as responding to requests from foreign governments, the United Nations, and the U.S. Department of State. For more information, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and on our website. About NYC’s Voluntary Local Review The NYC Mayor’s Office for International Affairs created the Voluntary Local Review (VLR) in 2018 to allow local governments to share their progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) directly with the United Nations while creating collaborations opportunities for a more sustainable and equitable future. Using the lens of the SDGs, subnational governments in the VLR movement work with their stakeholders and global counterparts to identify local solutions to issues including climate change, migration, and the COVID-19 pandemic. The NYC VLR Declaration enables them to formalize these commitments. More than 210 local governments are currently part of the global VLR movement.

Contact: Tanyanika Davis at



WHAT: Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) High-Level Pledging Event

WHEN: Tuesday, 8 December 2020, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. EST.

WHO: United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs will convene the annual Central

Emergency Response Fund (CERF) High-Level Pledging Event on 8 December. The event will

highlight CERF’s achievements for 2020, pledging announcements towards the fund in 2021,

and invite discussion on how to collectively increase CERF’s level of funding towards the US$1

billion target endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly in 2016.

The High-Level Event will be opened by UN Secretary-General António Guterres and will bring together senior representatives from UN Member States and Observers, UN agencies, non-

governmental organizations, foundations and the private sector.

Since it was established in 2005, the fund has provided close to $7 billion for life-saving

humanitarian action that has helped hundreds of millions of people across more than 100

countries and territories. This would not have been possible without generous and consistent

donor support.

Event will be web cast at

For further information, please contact:

In New York, Zoe Paxton,, +1 917 297 1542

In Geneva, Jens Laerke,, +41 79 472 9750



“Prepare, Prioritise, Promote”: The Elders’ three pillars for public health after COVID-19 The Elders today launched a new report, Building Back Better for Universal Health, setting out three key pillars to inform the leadership needed from governments and policymakers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic at a national and global level:

  • Prepare public health systems for future pandemics

  • Prioritise Universal Health Coverage at a national and global level

  • Promote healthier societies via holistic polices and social development

Launched ahead of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Day on 12 December, the wide-ranging report sets out specific recommendations based on lessons learned thus far from the pandemic, and the wider progress made towards UHC as part of countries’ commitments under the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The report highlights the significant changes that are needed to prepare health systems and societies against future pandemics. The Elders caution that the world cannot lose sight of the fragility and vulnerability of our collective health, despite the welcome news of COVID-19 vaccines becoming available.

The steps required include defining pandemic preparedness and response as a “global public good” that necessitates a multilateral approach, with states and global institutions pooling resources, capacity and expertise to deliver durable responses that reach all of humanity. Gro Harlem Brundtland, founding member of The Elders, former Director-General of the World Health Organization and Co-Chair of the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board, said: “COVID-19 has exposed the failures of short-termism, neglect and narrow nationalism that have too often weakened global health policy. National moves towards UHC must go hand in hand with multilateral efforts to strengthen global public health systems. Compassionate leadership and solidarity must lie at the heart of all future efforts: from vaccine distribution to putting vulnerable groups’ needs at the heart of public health.”

The Elders call on leaders to fully support and empower the World Health Organization as the indispensable multilateral public health institution, and to implement the recommendations of independent review bodies such as the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board and the Independent Panel on Pandemic Preparedness and Response.

Governments must also turn the disruption to economic, social and political models engendered by COVID-19 into a catalyst for wider pro-health reforms as they recalibrate budgets - including fresh approaches to transport, housing, employment and equality. The report argues that COVID-19 has shown we are all only as safe as the weakest link in our human chain. It is only by embedding solidarity and justice in public health policies that the world will truly overcome the current crisis and face the future with confidence. ENDS

Media enquiries
William French, Head of Communications
T: +44 (0) 7795 693903
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Tribute to Joseph Safra (1938-2020)

On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce, we regretfully inform you of the passing, on December 10, 2020 at the age of 82, of Joseph Safra, Lebanese-Brazilian banker who ran the Brazilian banking and investment empire Safra Group, and longtime Chamber affiliate. The Safra family has been a great supporter of the Chamber since its inception in 1969, and Mr. Safra’s dialogue with the Chamber strengthened ties between Brazil and the United States and furthered our mission of promoting trade and investment between the two nations.

Born in Beirut, Lebanon to a Sephardic Jewish family with banking connections, Mr. Safra moved to Brazil in 1952. In 1955, his brother Edmond and father Jacob started financing assets in São Paulo. That same year, Mr. Safra founded Banco Safra, and went on to serve as Chairman of all Safra companies, offering banking services throughout North America, South America, and Europe. He was credited with making Banco Safra one of Brazil’s soundest banks and today, the sixth largest private bank in Brazil. As Brazil’s richest man and, for many years, the world’s wealthiest banker, he also spent much of his time funding health, education, and charity projects.

Mr. Safra is survived by his wife, Vicky Sarfati, and their four children – Jacob, Esther (and spouse Carlos Dayan), Alberto, and David. More information on Mr. Safra’s great life and career can be found here:


UN Chief Press Briefing - Climate Ambition Summit 2020

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres met the press after delivering his remarks at the Climate Ambition Summit 2020.


2020 Int'l Day of Victims of Crime of Genocide - UN Chief

Opening remarks by António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, on 2020 International Day of Victims of Crime of Genocide.



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