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This Week in DPPA: 16 - 22 March 2024

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

“I am alarmed at the trajectory of events, and the lack of progress in reversing them," Pedersen tells Security Council, as conflict in Syria enters 14th year

On 21 March, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria Geir Pedersen told the Security Council that security, humanitarian, human rights, economic and political developments were headed in the wrong direction. “I am alarmed at the trajectory of events, and the lack of progress in reversing them," he said. On security, the conflict continued, with acute violence on many fronts and continued regional spillover, including further Israeli strikes, rocket fire from southern Syria into the occupied Syrian Golan; an uptick in violence in Idlib; further Turkish drone strikes in north-east Syria; and new attacks by Da’esh, which killed civilians. He voiced concern over the conflict in Gaza and its regional ramifications, calling for de-escalation and an immediate humanitarian ceasefire. The Special Envoy also called for an urgent de-escalation of the conflict in Syria, progressing towards a nationwide ceasefire.

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Chair of Sudan sanctions committee warns Council that violence against civilians is increasing in the country

On 19 March, speaking to Security Council members in closed consultations, the Chair of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1591 (2005) concerning the Sudan, Joonkook Hwang of the Republic of Korea, said that violence against civilians and violations of the arms embargo continued to increase, including widespread cases of sexual and gender-based violence across Darfur, particularly in West Darfur. He went on to note violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, ethnically-based recruitment by the warring parties, and increasing divisions within the Darfurian armed movements.

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Peacebuilding Commission Ambassadorial-level meeting on national efforts for prevention and peacebuilding – lessons learned from Kenya, Norway and Timor-Leste

On 22 March, the Peacebuilding Commission convened an Ambassadorial-level meeting on "national efforts for prevention and peacebuilding – lessons learnt from Kenya, Norway and Timor-Leste." The meeting included Raymond Omollo, Principal Secretary, State Department for Internal Security and National Administration, Kenya, Shamsa Abubakar Fadhili, member, Independent Panel of Advisors, Kenya Peacebuilding Architecture Review, Elin Solberg, Policy Director, Department of National Security, Ministry of Justice of Norway, Dionisio Da Costa Babo Soares, Permanent Representative of Timor-Leste, Lesley Connolly, Life and Peace Institute, and Earle Courtenay Rattray, UN Chef de Cabinet. Member States commended the countries’ efforts to address drivers of violence, instability and conflict and acknowledged the universality of prevention. They emphasized the value of sharing good practices at the Commission.

Peacebuilding Commission Ambassadorial-level meeting on Mauritania

On 20 March, the Peacebuilding Commission held its first meeting on Mauritania, including the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Abdel Salam Mohamed Saleh, World Bank Vice President for Western and Central Africa Ousmane Diagana, three civil society representatives, the UN Resident Coordinator in Mauritania, Lila Pieters Yahia, and Assistant-Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support Elizabeth Spehar. Member States commended Mauritania’s efforts in addressing terrorism and violent extremism, advancing inclusive, sustainable development, enhancing social protection and basic service delivery, and promoting peaceful coexistence between refugees and host communities. They expressed concern over the regional security situation and impact of climate change on peacebuilding, and called for coordinated international support to peacebuilding, encouraging Mauritania to continue engaging with the Commission.

Peacebuilding Fund’s Group of Friends holds Ambassadorial-level meeting

Sweden and the United Kingdom co-chaired the first quarterly meeting of 2024 of the Peacebuilding Fund's Group of Friends on 22 March. Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support Elizabeth Spehar briefed partners on the Fund’s investments in 2023 and the outlook for 2024. The Fund has reached the lowest liquidity levels in its history and cannot sufficiently meet demand, she said. Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the Democratic Republic of the Congo Bintou Keita, joining virtually from Kinshasa, briefed on the Fund’s critical role in UN transition contexts. Mauritania’s Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, Abdessalam Ould Mohamed Saleh, briefed on the Fund's support towards his country’s peacebuilding priorities, together with the UN Resident Coordinator in Mauritania, Lila Pieters.

Latest Secretary-General report on Peacebuilding Fund is published

In the Fund’s latest annual report, the Secretary-General said, “The wars grabbing the headlines today only underscore the need to invest now in sustainable peace for tomorrow.” Responding to national demand for peacebuilding support, the Fund approved $202 million in 2023 to support communities and institution-building in 36 countries and territories. This included more than $24 million for supporting cross-border and regional approaches, $38 million for facilitating UN transitions, and $57 million for women’s and youth empowerment. With increased demand from Member States combined with a decline in contributions, the Fund could not fully meet demand and has reached its lowest liquidity level since its inception. See the full report here and a map of PBF investments here.

UNRCCA Preventive Diplomacy Academy discusses climate and water concerns

On 19 March, the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA) convened a hybrid session for Academy participants and students of the Training Center for Priority Areas of Diplomacy of Turkmenistan. UNRCCA staff gave a presentation on the relationship between water and climate in Central Asia, connecting the regional context with global developments and agendas and including a historical background. The event allowed youth participants to hold meaningful discussions on water and climate.

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DSRSG Cordone visits Koya in Kurdistan Region

On 18 March, the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq for Political Affairs and Electoral Assistance Claudio Cordone met in the Kurdistan region with the Mayor of Koya, Tariq Haidary, to discuss the situation of Iranian Kurdish opposition groups in the district. Cordone also visited the Azady camp for Iranian Kurdish opposition groups in Koya.Their representatives reiterated their commitment to civilian status.

DSRSG Isaczai meets with Iraq Minister of Interior, Deputy Minister of Education

On 18 March, DSRSG/Resident Coordinator/Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq Ghulam Isaczai met with Minister of Interior Abdul Amir Kamil Al-Shammari. Discussions centered around cooperation and coordination between the United Nations in Iraq and the Ministry on a number of relevant issues.

On 19 March, DSRSG Isaczai met with Deputy Minister of Education Mahdi Saleh Al-Awadi and discussed the recent Ministry of Education decision regarding its offices in Kurdistan Region of Iraq and the continuation of education services to IDPs.

Empowering women in economic recovery: insights from global initiatives

On 21 March, DPPA’s Peacebuilding Support Office, in partnership with UN Women, Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict, Austria, Sierra Leone, and the Republic of South Korea, held the Commission on the Status of Women side event "Investing in Women’s Leadership: Women’s Participation in Recovery and Reconstruction Efforts.” A panel discussion presented research findings on women’s participation in economic recovery and reconstruction in conflict-affected and post-conflict countries. The study draws on case studies from Colombia, Iraq, Myanmar, and Nigeria and demonstrates the contributions of women peacebuilders globally. Roselyn Akombe, Chief of Peacebuilding Strategy and Partnerships, Peacebuilding Support Office, highlighted the importance of civil society's continued engagement with the UN system and intergovernmental platforms to advocate for the implementation of actions and to bolster women's role in economic and post-conflict recovery. Many participants affirmed the need to uphold high ambitions for peacebuilding and prevention funding and further broaden the donor base of the Fund.


Building peace from equality in Nariño, Colombia

On 21 March, the UN Verification Mission in Colombia accompanied the "Tulpas para construir paz desde la igualdad" ("Tulpas to build peace from equality") at the Artemio Mendoza School in Pasto. The Mission and participants created space for dialogue on women's transformative leadership building peace and memory in the territories of the department of Nariño, in the southwest of Colombia. Students and teachers discussed the importance and contribution of women leaders for the implementation of the Peace Agreement, reconciliation, and reconstruction in the region.

Next Week

On 25 March, the Security Council will hold a briefing on international threats to peace and security. On 26 March, it will hold a briefing on the Middle East peace process.