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This Week in DPPA: 10 - 16 February 2024

A brief roundup of United Nations-related political and peacebuilding events and developments around the world. 

Climate action can help fight hunger and prevent conflict, Secretary-General tells Council 

On 13 February, the Security Council held an open debate on climate, conflict and food insecurity. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that, with the accelerating climate crisis and multiplying conflicts, over 330 million people around the globe had been affected by acute food insecurity in 2023. “A global food crisis is creating a hellscape of hunger and heartache for many of the world’s poorest people,” said Guterres. He also highlighted the connection between hunger and conflict: in Syria, almost 13 million people go to bed hungry every night after a decade of war and a deadly earthquake; in Myanmar, conflict and political instability have thrown progress towards ending hunger into reverse; in Gaza, no one has enough to eat — “of the 700,000 hungriest people in the world, four in five inhabit that tiny strip of land,” he said. 

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Nearly two years after Russian invasion, UN remains committed to Ukraine’s sovereignty, says ASG Jenča 

On 12 February, Assistant-Secretary General Miroslav Jenča  briefed the Council on the situation in Ukraine. Two years since the invasion by the Russian Federation, the United Nations remains fully committed to Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity, Jenča said. He went on to note that “the approaching anniversary of the invasion is not only an occasion to recount the horrors of the past two years, but also a reminder that the armed conflict in Ukraine did not begin on 24 February 2022, but has been ongoing in the country’s east since 2014.” He stressed that any peace processes must address the root causes of the conflict and include full, equal participation of women and youth and civil society voices.

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Special Envoy: Regional de-escalation is critical for peace process in Yemen

On 14 February, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen Hans Grundberg briefed the Council on recent developments. “What happens regionally impacts Yemen and what happens in Yemen can impact the region,” said Grundberg. He said that regional de-escalation was the key to bring the peace process in Yemen back on track. While the parties had committed to a nationwide ceasefire in late December 2023, and there had been relative calm along the front lines, “the locus of attention has since shifted”, he said. Amid tensions linked to the war in Gaza and the military escalation in the Red Sea, he underscored that it was imperative to protect political space and keep communication channels open.

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SRSG Bathily underlines need for political settlement to gain peace and democracy in Libya

On 15 February, the Special Representative for Libya and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), Abdoulaye Bathily, briefed the Council on the situation in that country. Thirteen years since the 2011 revolution, “Libyans are still waiting to realize their aspirations for sustainable peace and democracy,” he said. Despite the finalization of the constitutional and legal framework for elections, he continued, key Libyan institutional stakeholders appeared unwilling to resolve the outstanding politically contested issues that would clear the path to elections. Bathily noted he continued to engage with the major players, but “none of them have made a decisive move from their initial position, with each continuing to articulate pre-conditions for their participation in the dialogue as a way to maintain the status quo, which … seems to suit them.” He urged Libya's leaders to “put their self-interests aside and come to the negotiating table in good faith, ready to discuss all contested issues. Reluctance to do so calls into question not only their commitment to the elections but to the unity and future of their country for which they should be held accountable.”

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Security Council members visit reintegration projects in Colombia

From 8 to 11 of February, Security Council members visited Colombia to listen to the voices of a diverse range of stakeholders involved in peacebuilding in Colombia, including State institutions, peace signatories and various sectors of civil society. The members visited Agua Bonita, a former TATR in Caquetá, to gain first-hand insight into the progress made, as well as the challenges of the reintegration of former combatants.Given the importance of the implementation of the Ethnic Chapter of the Peace Agreement in order to advocate for the Afro-Colombian and indigenous populations affected by the armed conflict, Council members met with ethnic authorities and leaders in Buenaventura, in the department of Valle del Cauca. They also met with groups of victims and youth committed to peacebuilding. 

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UN in Iraq launches Joint Coordination Forum 

On 13 and 15 February, the UN in Iraq launched separately its Joint Coordination Forum in Diyala and Anbar governorates. The initiative enhances coordination and collaboration in the respective governorates, and strengthens partnerships among local authorities, UN agencies, and NGOs. The Forum is an illustration of the UN's commitment to achieving durable solutions for displacement.

Deputy Special Representative Isaczai meets with Iraqi officials to discuss displacement

The Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq/Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, Ghulam Isaczai, together with representatives from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), met on 14 February in Baghdad with Iraq’s Minister of Migration and Displacement, Evan Faiq Jabro. They discussed the recent government decision regarding solutions for internally displaced persons, emphasizing voluntary, informed, safe, and inclusive return through durable solutions pathways.  

UN in Iraq launches the Diyala Joint Coordination Forum 

On 13 February, the UN in Iraq launched the Diyala Joint Coordination Forum, led by the Governor of Diyala. This pivotal initiative enhances coordination and collaboration in the governorate, streamlining efforts to prevent duplication and overlapping, and strengthen partnerships among local authorities, UN agencies, and NGOs. Together, we are committed to tackling challenges, supporting development and achieving durable solutions for displacement in Diyala governorate.

UNRCCA attends meeting of Group of Friends of Neutrality

On 15 February 2024, SRSG Kaha Imnadze took part in the first meeting of the Heads of Parliaments of the countries of the Group of Friends of Neutrality. The meeting was chaired by the Chairperson of the Mejlis of Turkmenistan, Dunyagozel Gulmanova, and attended by the heads and representatives of the parliaments of the member countries of the Group and inter-parliamentary organizations, including the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and Inter Parliamentary Assembly of the member-states of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). In his remarks, SRSG Imnadze commended the efforts of the Group of Friends of Neutrality in the steadfast promotion of the principle of neutrality, taking into consideration numerous security related challenges at the global and regional levels.

Special Coordinator meets with Lebanese officials on Blue Line de-escalation 

This week, the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Joanna Wronecka, continued her good offices efforts to shield Lebanon from a broader conflagration. The Special Coordinator held a round of meetings with Lebanese officials and stakeholders before expected meetings with Israeli officials next week. In Beirut, the Special Coordinator met with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati, the Lebanese Armed Forces Commander Gen. Joseph Aoun and representatives of Hizbullah. She underlined the importance of de-escalation, a return to the cessation of hostilities and the implementation of resolution 1701. The Special Coordinator also discussed with other Lebanese stakeholders, including Lebanese Forces party leader Samir Geagea, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, the Deputy Head of the Higher Shiite Council and other high-level authorities how to protect Lebanon during this period. 

Mission in Colombia supports beekeeping projects for reintegration

In Sucre, on Colombia's Caribbean coast, camouflaged uniforms and the sound of bullets have been replaced by beekeeping suits and the buzz of bees, thanks to the work of 80 people, including former combatants and victims of the conflict, who, with the support of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia and the National Apprenticeship Service (SENA), have created two beekeepers' associations that work together on their productive and reincorporation projects. Apías, in the municipality of Ovejas, has 64 members, 32 signatories and 32 women victims, and Asoagromon, in Colosó, has 16 members. After seven years and several training sessions, the UNVMC resumed its consultancy and accompaniment in Sucre this week to support its new project to achieve a beekeeping collection centre for high-quality medicinal honey and its commercialization process. 

UNOAU supports African Union event on the right to equitable and inclusive quality education

On 13 February 2024 the African Union (AU) held an event on education and the prevention of violence on the margins of the 37th Assembly of the African Union Heads of State and Government. The event was organized by the AU in collaboration with other entities, including the UN Office to the African Union (UNOAU) and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). It focused on ensuring the right to equitable and inclusive quality education to break and prevent cycles of violence in Africa.

ASG Spehar participates in panel on private sector investments in peace at 60th Munich Security Conference

This week, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support Elizabeth Spehar participated in the 60th Munich Security Conference. She engaged in several sessions, including 'The Dawn of a New Era? Resetting The African Peace and Security Architecture in a Changing World’, and discussions on the future of peacemaking. During a panel on ‘Unlocking Private Sector Investments in Peace’, ASG Spehar emphasized the need to expand public-private partnerships. The UN can play a key role in helping to de-risk new investments, and convene an array of partners while ensuring that investments are grounded in an understanding of local needs, risks, and opportunities for peace, she said.

Next Week

On 19 February, the Security Council will be briefed on the situation in Somalia. On 22 February, it will hold a meeting on the Middle East. On 23 February, it will hold a meeting on Ukraine.