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This Week in DPPA: 14 - 20 March

14 - 20 March 2020

This Week in DPPA is a brief roundup of political and peacebuilding events and developments at UNHQ and around the world.


We are open for business
The COVID-19 pandemic has upended life as we know it. The UN is no exception. But although instituting measures to safeguard staff and prevent the spread of the disease, including telecommuting, the world body is still at work, determined to deliver for the people we serve.

DPPA, in the field and at UN headquarters, has adapted its operations in order to continue providing support to member States and partners. As Under-Secretary-General Rosemary DiCarlo tweeted following a video conference with the heads of the UN’s Special Political Missions earlier this week, “In the face of COVID19, and while taking adequate precautions, we remain focused on supporting countries in making and building peace and preventing violent conflict.”

Iraq has, thus far, managed to contain the spread of the virus
UNAMI issued a statement on COVID-19 on 19 March: “The COVID-19 virus remains a present threat around the world, in this region, and in Iraq. It affects all segments of society and can only be fought with the full cooperation of … every individual, every one of us doing what we can to help contain the outbreak.”

To date, the measures taken by Iraq have been wide-ranging and squarely aimed at reducing the spread of the pandemic. It has not been easy, but the United Nations in Iraq is encouraged to note that, thanks to these efforts, Iraq has thus far managed to contain the spread of the virus.
Read the full statement on UNAMI’s website

UNSMIL joins the call for an immediate humanitarian cessation of hostilities
On 17 March UNSMIL joined the call by international partners on all parties to the Libyan conflict to declare an immediate humanitarian cessation of hostilities as well as a halt to the continuing transfer of all military equipment and personnel into Libya, in order to allow local authorities to rapidly respond to the unprecedented public health challenge posed by COVID-19.
Read the full statement on UNSMIL’s website

Special Representative for Central Africa joins #SafeHands campaign
François Louncény Fall, Special Representative and Head of UNOCA, joined WHO’s #SafeHands campaign this week to promote good hand hygiene in order to prevent the propagation of COVID-19 in the region.
Watch the video here

Response to the virus in Colombia
In March, the Government of Colombia intensified preventive measures in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including closing land and sea borders, restricting entrance to foreigners and non-residents, and closing schools and universities. On 17 March, President Duque declared a state of emergency and ordered mandatory preventive isolation for persons over 70 years old until 31 May. He further announced that the Government will allocate additional resources for the public health system and for social welfare programs. Also on 17 March, the Presidential Counsellor for Stabilization and Consolidation stated that the Government is taking the necessary measures so that the implementation of peace-related programs may continue despite the challenging circumstances regarding the outbreak. As of 19 March, the Ministry of Health had confirmed 128 cases of COVID-19 across the country, with no deaths reported. Also on 19 March, President Duque announced that from 23 March and for 30 days, all international passenger flights are not allowed to arrive at the country's airports.

The Working Group on Health of the National Reintegration Council –composed by FARC, ARN, the Ministry of Health and the Mission–is meeting regularly to coordinate prevention measures regarding the COVID-19 outbreak, particularly to monitor the situation in collective reintegration areas and to prepare to respond to eventual cases of infection. On 18 March, the authorities and FARC issued a joint statement to raise awareness about prevention measures, including advising former combatants to remain inside former TATRs and other collective reintegration areas, and to restrict entry to outsiders as much as possible. ARN will continue its follow-up activities with former combatants by telephone from 16 to 31 March. Importantly, ARN has reiterated that this will not affect the monthly allowance for former combatants. For its part, the UN Mission continues its verification work by reducing the number of staff in its offices as much as possible, encouraging telecommuting.
For more Information, contact us.

For up-to-date information on COVID-19 and its impact please visit the following websites:  
WHO website
UN coronavirus website


Security Council

All meetings cancelled
All scheduled meetings of the Security Council this week were cancelled due to COVID-19. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says that the Council continues to function even without members being physically present in the council Chamber. Please see the Security Council website for an updated program of work.



Constitutional review consultations in Galmudug
The electoral process, the question of federalism, power sharing arrangements, justice and security, the rights of women and youth, and the status of Mogadishu as the capital of the country were among the issues discussed during three days of constitutional consultations which concluded on 16 March in Dhusamareb, Galmudug State. The public meeting was attended by over one hundred people representing youth, women, religious leaders, elders, civil society groups, academics and persons with disabilities, aimed at having their views included in a future constitution for Somalia.
Read more on UNSOM’s website



Nowruz celebrations in Afghanistan
“The United Nations family joins Afghans in the celebrations of Nowruz and shares the hope of all Afghans that the new year will bring peace across the country. Nowruz Mubarak!” - the Special Representative and Head of UNAMA, Tadamichi Yamamoto, posted on Twitter. Nowruz, or Persian New Year, is celebrated on 20 March.
For more Information, contact us



Special Representative visits Kurdistan
Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, Special Representative and Head of UNAMI, visited Kurdistan this week. Together with Deputy Special Representative and Resident Coordinator Marta Ruedas, she met with Kurdistan Minister of Interior Rêber Ahmed in Erbil on 16 March. They discussed the security, health and the humanitarian situation in the region. Ms. Hennis-Plasschaert also met with President Nechirvan Barzani and Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani during her visit to Kurdistan, with whom she discussed, among other things, the COVID-19 outbreak.
For more Information, contact us



Anniversary of the conflict in Syria
Special Envoy Geir O. Pedersen issued a statement on the anniversary of the conflict in Syria on 14 March: The Syrian conflict is now entering its tenth year. The suffering of the Syrian people during this tragic and terrible decade still defies comprehension and belief. Hundreds of thousands of Syrians, men and women, have lost their lives. Hundreds of thousands have been detained, abducted or are missing. Human rights abuses, crimes, destruction and destitution have taken place on a monumental scale. Half the population has fled their homes. And with close to a million people newly displaced due to heavy violence in the past three months in the Idlib area alone, the tragedy is deepening.
Read the full statement here








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