Syria Mission Will End: The Security Council announced that the UN Mission in Syria, UNSMIS, will not be renewed after its mandate expires on August 19. In its place, the SC will back a new liaison office there to support UN and Arab League efforts to end conflict in the country, as proposed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. In a letter to the SC, the SG noted that the two requirements for the continuation of the Mission – the cessation of the use of heavy weapons and a reduction in violence by all sides – have not been achieved. Despite expiration of the mandate, the search for a new Joint Special Envoy for Syria continues.

New Education Initiative: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is on his way back to New York after his trip to the Republic of Korea and Timor-Leste. This morning, the SG stressed a global push for education in a speech delivered at the National University of Timor-Leste, in which he revealed his new global initiative for “quality, relevant and inclusive education” – Education First – that will be launched during the UN General Debate next month.

2.5 Million Need Aid in Syria: Despite the upcoming end of the UN Mission in Syria, OCHA Chief Valerie Amos today announced that over 2.5 million people in Syria are in need of additional humanitarian assistance, with over one million facing “destitution.” On her third day of her visit to the country, Amos noted that “there is more we could be doing right now.” “We are working to update our plans and funding requirements,” she said, noting that insecurity and restrictions were only part of the problem. “Funding too is holding us back.”

Mali: A report produced by OCHA today announced that more than 435,000 people have been displaced in Mali, due to conflict and food insecurity associated with the complex humanitarian emergency in the country. The report states that nearly 262,000 out of the 435,000 displaced persons have registered with the UN as refugees in Niger, Burkina Faso and Algeria, while some 174,000 are internally displaced in the northern towns of Timbuktu, Gao and Kidal.

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