New elected members join the Security Council
The UN Security Council on 1 January bade farewell to the five outgoing members – Belgium, Dominican Republic, Germany, Indonesia and South Africa – and welcomed the five new members who are taking up their seats at the Council for their two-year term from 2021 to 2022 – India, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico and Norway. Under-Secretary-General Rosemary DiCarlo thanked the outgoing members for their work over the past two years and said she was looking forward to working with the new members “to help advance peace and security globally”.
Read more about the priorities of the incoming Council members here
Special Representative meets with Foreign Minister as peace talks resume in Qatar
Deborah Lyons, UN Special Representative and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) met on 5 January with Foreign Minister Mohammed Haneef Atmar to discuss collective international support for the peace process and the overriding need for all countries to press the Taliban for a ceasefire. In a press release the same day, UNAMA welcomed the return of negotiators to Doha, Qatar for the resumption of talks between the two Afghan negotiating teams. “I urge both sides to use this opportunity to move ahead to create the conditions for a reduction in violence that will end further loss of Afghan lives and reach a political settlement that is acceptable to all segments of Afghan society,” Deborah Lyons said.
Read the press release here
New Deputy Special Representative appointed
Secretary-General António Guterres announced on 7 January the appointment of Mette Knudsen of Denmark as his new Deputy Special Representative (Political) for Afghanistan. Ms. Knudsen succeeds Ingrid Hayden of Australia, to whom the Secretary-General expresses his gratitude for her dedicated service. Ms. Knudsen brings to the position over 28 years of professional experience in diplomacy, international cooperation and economic development. Most recently, she served as Ambassador of Denmark to Afghanistan.
Read the press release here
Discussions on upcoming early general elections in Iraq
Special Representative for Iraq Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, on 4 January, met in Baghdad with the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners of the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC), Jaleel Adnan Khalaf to discuss the preparations for the forthcoming early general elections in Iraq, slated for 6 June 2021. The upcoming elections and the current political situation in Iraq were the topics of discussion in her meeting the same day with the Head of the Iraqis Coalition, Sayyed Ammar al-Hakim. In Kirkuk on 5 January, the heads of the Kirkuk offices of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) met with representatives of the Kirkuk Office of Tribal Affairs. The upcoming elections were also part of the discussions, as well as coexistence, social cohesion, return of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and durable solutions in the area. The Office of Tribal Affairs was represented by prominent Sheikhs of the Arab, Christian, Kurdish and Turkmen community in Kirkuk.
Meeting with President of Yemen in Riyadh
During a meeting on 6 January with Yemeni President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths congratulated him on the formation of the new Cabinet and condemned the horrific attack against the newly formed Government of Yemen upon its arrival in Aden airport last week. He conveyed condolences to the Government and people of Yemen and reiterated the support and solidarity of the United Nations and the international community to Yemen.
Read the press release here
Special Envoy visits Aden
UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths on 7 January concluded a visit to Aden that included meetings with the Yemeni Prime Minister, Maeen Abdulmalik, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ahmed Bin Mubarak, members of the Cabinet, and the Governor of Aden, Ahmed Hamid Lamlas. Special Envoy Griffiths congratulated the Prime Minister on the formation of the Cabinet and its arrival in Aden and commended the resolve of the Government in the aftermath of the attack. “I discussed the prospects of the political process with the Government and I stressed that I remain committed to support Yemen to end this conflict comprehensively and sustainably through a negotiated political settlement,” the Special Envoy added.
Read press release here
Health post receives supplies to enhance medical care to rural community
With the support of donor contributions, the UN Verification Mission in Colombia donated medical supplies, furniture and other equipment to the health post of Pavarandó, Mutatá, Antioquia department in the central west of Colombia on 4 January. In coordination with the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the Mayor’s office of Mutata and the Government of Colombia, stretchers, chairs, a microscope, refrigerator, televisions and medical supplies were delivered to enhance operations. The health post serves between 15 and 20 patients daily, including people in the process of reintegration and their families. Such donations are vital since the rural health posts are, in many cases, the only medical care facilities for rural families.
First virtual meeting of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum’s Advisory Committee
Acting Special Representative (ASRSG) and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya Stephanie Williams convened on 4 January the first virtual meeting of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF)’s Advisory Committee to discuss the mandate of the committee, its tasks, expected outcomes, and the timeframe for the committee’s work. ASRSG Williams reiterated that the committee would play an advisory role and would work for a period of two weeks to produce concrete recommendations to address differences that have emerged over the selection mechanism and the nomination procedures of the executive authority, and to build consensus among the LPDF members. On 6 January, ASRSG Williams facilitated the second virtual meeting of the LPDF’s Advisory Committee where a number of proposals about the selection mechanism and the nomination procedures of the executive authority were presented and discussed. ASRSG Williams emphasized the urgency to break the current impasse and expedite the unification of the executive authority. The participants agreed to continue the discussion in the coming days and to meet in-person next week in Geneva.
Read the press release on the first virtual meeting here
UN promotes peaceful and inclusive elections in Niger
Some 5.2 million Nigeriens, with a significant participation of women and youth, voted on 27 December, to elect a new President and a new Parliament. The United Nations has been providing a two-track support to this historic electoral process. On the one hand through sustained political engagement and good offices for a renewed political dialogue, led by Special Representative and head of the UN Regional Office for West Africa and the Sahel Mohamed Ibn Chambas, who was on the ground from 29 December to 3 January. Technical assistance is being provided through a $20 million UNDP-managed basket fund, supported by the Peacebuilding Fund. The presidential and legislative elections represented a milestone for the country, as they set the stage for the first peaceful transition of power from one elected Head of State to another since the country’s independence – a promising example of democratic consolidation for the region. This was also the first election using the new biometric register, an important tool to ensure voter equality, based on the principle of "one voter, one vote". A runoff presidential election is scheduled for 21 February.
Secretary-General appoints Special Representative for Sudan
As announced on 7 January, Secretary-General António Guterres has appointed Volker Perthes of Germany as his new Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS). Mr. Perthes brings to this position over 25 years of experience in academia, research, international relations and diplomacy, including with the United Nations, as well as deep expertise in conflict resolution and regional geopolitics.
Read the statement here
Special Representative Mohamed Ibn Chambas will update the Security Council on the situation in West Africa and the Sahel on Monday, 11 January. On 12 January, the Council will debate international cooperation in combating terrorism, 20 years after the adoption of resolution 1373 (2001). And finally, on Thursday, 14 January, Council members will hear from Special Envoy Martin Griffiths on the situation in Yemen.
Updated Council programme of work here
The Work of Peace
Remember to check out our virtual exhibit: The Work of Peace. It highlights the UN’s key role in preventive diplomacy, good offices, mediation and elections over the past 75 years, and looks ahead at what the future may hold for this work.