Remarks by Ms. Rosemary A. DiCarlo,
Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs,
Annual Donor Meeting
New York, 28 March 2023
Excellencies, colleagues, friends – I would like to welcome you to DPPA’ Annual Donor meeting.
This year we come together at an especially opportune time. We recently released our new Strategic Plan, and we are at work helping to shape the New Agenda for Peace, part of the Secretary-General’s Our Common Agenda. These distinct yet complementary efforts are the fruit of deep reflection and consultation. They will guide us in the years ahead.
The Strategic Plan for 2023-2026 marks a degree of continuity from its predecessor. This is natural, as the Department’s overarching mission to prevent conflict and build sustainable peace remains the same. But the Plan takes a bolder and more outward looking approach to accomplishing our goals in response to an increasingly complex international peace and security environment.
Our work became considerably more challenging a year ago. After years of warning, theorizing and reporting about threats to collective peace and security emanating from emerging phenomena and new, dangerous trends, the resurgence of war in Europe was shocking and sobering.
Russia’s invasion has been devastating for Ukraine and caused major dislocation and suffering across the world. Among other concerns, it gave rise to fears, not yet fully allayed, that attention and resources would be diverted from other conflicts.
Indeed, recent global developments, including the international response to the war in Ukraine, have led to a significant drop in official development assistance allocations for peacebuilding and conflict prevention and resolution.
Significantly, the effects of the war and the perceived lack of global solidarity in the face of the Covid pandemic, have also further frayed the multilateral system and fomented division. And while we cannot predict the future, one thing we can count on is that there will be further shocks to the system in the years or decades ahead.
Our Common Agenda, the developing New Agenda for Peace and our own Strategic Plan are fully aligned in their focus on a reinvigorated multilateralism and investment in prevention and peacebuilding. These are essential elements to build the resilience that the international peace and security system and individual societies need to avert, withstand, or resolve tensions and violence.
Much of the work under the new Strategic Plan will be made possible by funding we hope to receive under our new Multi-Year Appeal, which is calling for $170 million for 2023-2026.
Whole areas of DPPA activity depend on voluntary funding. They include the mediation and electoral support we provide, as well as our work on partnerships, women, peace and security, innovation, and climate security. These efforts respond to priorities outlined in the Strategic Plan, which in turn fall under three broad goals, as we explain in the short video you are about to view:
[DPPA Strategic Plan 2023-2026]
You viewed in the video some of our colleagues in the field, including special representatives and envoys of the Secretary-General, engaged in political and peace processes around the world. A substantial part of their work is made possible by the voluntary contributions we receive under the MYA.
In Yemen, for example, thanks to intensive mediation and diplomatic efforts supported by the MYA, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy helped broker a nationwide truce that led to a significant reduction in violence and civilian casualties. Although the truce lapsed, the military situation has remained relatively stable.
In Sudan, we backed the ceasefire monitoring mechanism established by the Juba Peace Agreement with mediation expertise. Also, our support contributed to the efforts that led to the signing of the Political Framework Agreement between some civilian political forces and the military on 5 December 2022 that aims to restore civilian rule.
In Somalia, Libya and Iraq, our missions are supporting national authorities in managing political transitions and electoral processes. In Colombia, as you will hear shortly, our mission works hand-in-hand with the government to build sustainable peace.
MYA funding also allows us to provide electoral support to around 50 Member States every year. Elections are political events, and we always look at electoral assistance through a prevention lens. Last year, we assisted with elections in Chile, Kenya, Lebanon, Timor Leste, São Tomé and Principe and Liberia. Our support combined technical assistance and political engagement to ensure peaceful elections.
The UN’s partnerships with Member States, regional and subregional organizations and civil society are essential to our effectiveness. When we and our partners speak with one voice, we are better able to encourage conflict parties to pursue a negotiated solution. As stated in our Strategic Plan, DPPA has a role to play as one of a network of actors - international, regional, local - helping to change the trajectory of conflict and reduce the risks of actual or potential violence.
Last year, with MYA funding, DPPA worked with regional and sub-subregional organizations in more than 55 of its mediation engagements. In Ethiopia, DPPA supported efforts by the African Union’s High Representative for the Horn of Africa, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, to broker peace. The peace talks eventually led to a cessation of hostilities with the signing of the peace agreement on 2 November 2022.
Voluntary contributions enable us to maximize impact by also working with partners across the UN system. For example, we continue to engage with Resident Coordinators and UN Country Teams on conflict prevention activities before, during and after elections.
Our nine liaison offices, all funded by the MYA, are also crucial to our preventive and peacemaking work.
As you will see in the Strategic Plan and the MYA, we put a major premium on inclusion. We continue to work to ensure that 100 per cent of our UN mediation support teams have women and we provide gender expertise to all UN-led or co-led peace processes. This was the case in Sudan last year, where the mission successfully advocated for gender observers to participate in the peace talks.
We also pursue direct participation of women in peace talks, such as the Libya Political Dialogue Forum and in the Syria Constitutional Committee. Our Envoys are engaging in regular consultations with women’s groups.
In Iraq, Syria and Yemen, we have created women’s advisory boards to ensure that their perspectives inform our work. Close to 20 per cent of our MYA portfolio is dedicated to activities in pursuit of the WPS agenda.
In Libya, Yemen and Haiti, we have also used digital platforms to expand our engagement with hard-to-reach communities.
As the environmental crisis deepens, we see opportunities to make progress on climate, peace and security. The climate emergency is a crisis amplifier, but in 2023 there is scope to strengthen the evidence base and leverage the linkages between peacebuilding and climate action to build resilience, reduce vulnerabilities, and sustain peace.
We have already strengthened the capacity of several of our special political missions with the deployment of climate, peace and security advisors, including in Central and West Africa, Somalia and in Iraq.
Let me emphasize that funding under the Multi-Year Appeal allows us to act quickly and efficiently to help Member States respond to brewing tensions. The MYA’s Rapid Response funding window offers timely support to address sudden or escalating crises.
Funding under the Appeal is increasingly being invested towards our technology and innovation window. In line with the Secretary-General’s “Quintet of Change” priorities, we fund projects that explore the use of new tools - for remote sensing and online mediation processes, including digital focus groups, social media mining, and satellite imagery analysis - that can bolster our conflict prevention, mediation and peacebuilding efforts.
I have gone through this lengthy list of examples to demonstrate one thing: your investment in our global peace and security system, in conflict prevention, in mediation and in peacebuilding pays off.
Lives are saved and communities are spared the destruction and suffering of violent conflict. You help bridge the gap between the formal commitment to conflict prevention and the actual resources dedicated to it in the Organization’s budget. I hope we can continue to count on your vital support.