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This Week in DPPA: 16 - 22 October 2021

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

Under-Secretary-General Rosemary DiCarlo was in Libya for a five-day visit this week. In Tripoli on 18 October she met Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Debeibah and Interior Minister Khaled Mazen to discuss UN support to the political process and other issues, including the forthcoming elections. She also met on 19 October with Foreign Minister Najla Al-Mangoush on the stabilization initiative, and High State Council President Khalid Al-Mishri on upcoming elections. Meeting with the West Delegation of the Joint Military Commission in Tripoli and the East Delegation in Benghazi, she congratulated both on successes on the Joint Action Plan for the withdrawal of foreign forces, fighters and mercenaries, the reopening of the coastal road and exchange of detainees. On 21 October, she spoke at the Libya International Stabilization Conference before traveling to Tunisia. In Tunis on 22 October, the Under-Secretary-General met Foreign Minister Othman Jerandi and discussed regional developments and the situation in the country.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Jenča underlines need to protect hard-won peace

Assistant Secretary-General for Europe, Central Asia and the Americas Miroslav Jenča concluded on 22 October his four-day official visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina where he met with members of the Presidency Željko Komšić, Šefik Džaferović and Milorad Dodik, and Foreign Minister Bisera Turković among others. The meetings were focused on the peace, security and stability challenges and concerns in the country, regional developments as well as cooperation with the United Nations. He reiterated the Secretary-General’s message in calling for the need to redouble efforts towards strengthening reconciliation efforts, trust, mutual understanding and social cohesion both in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the region. He urged political leaders to refrain from unilateral actions that could undermine the achievements over the past almost 26 years since the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Annexes were signed, underscoring that the hard-won peace must be protected and further nurtured.

Security Council

Wennesland: Situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory continues to deteriorate

Tor Wennesland, Special Coordinator of the Secretary-General for the Middle East Peace Process, briefed the Security Council on 19 October. He welcomed the ongoing engagement between senior Israeli and Palestinian officials, and strongly encouraged a further expansion of such efforts which could improve conditions on the ground and pave the way towards re-invigorating the peace process. He further warned that the security situation in Gaza continues to remain fragile, and the security dynamics in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are deteriorating. "We can no longer lurch from crisis to crisis. Our approach cannot be to address the current situation piecemeal – incident by incident, on a short-term day-to-day basis as stand-alone issues”, the Special Coordinator said, calling for a broader package of parallel steps by the Government of Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the international community.

Full remarks to the Security Council here

Great Lakes region at a crossroads 

Huang Xia, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes region, briefing the Security Council on 20 October, said that the region is at a crossroads. He reiterated that the main threat to peace and stability remains the persistence of armed groups. He added that bilateral and regional initiatives attest to the awareness of the added value of dialogue and cooperation. More than ever, he said, it is necessary to consolidate these gains. Assistant Secretary-General for Africa Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee also spoke to Council members, informing that the UN is reconfiguring its presence in the region to best address the challenges. She argued that “armed group activity is a symptom of insecurity in the region”, and therefore “the enabling conditions should be addressed upstream.”  

Read more here

Full remarks by the Special Envoy to the Security Council here


High-Level Dialogue with Afghan Women’s Rights Advocates

DPPA, together with Norway, Qatar and UN Women, co-hosted on 20 October a high-level dialogue between Afghan women leaders and several Member States. The women highlighted fears at the Taliban’s rapid deprivation of women and girls' rights, the urgent need for humanitarian aid, the criticality of international unity, and the need for advocacy and assurances to be put into action. Assistant Secretary-General for the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific Mohamed Khaled Khiari noted the UN’s commitment to stay and deliver in Afghanistan, its increased humanitarian action, and some recent successes in securing women’s participation in humanitarian aid delivery. He added that the UN continues to raise in all its engagements with the Taliban the need for women to be able to work.


Special Envoy: “the power must be returned to the people in a democratic way”

Christine Schraner Burgener, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General, briefed the press on 21 October on the situation in Myanmar. She warned that February’s military takeover has led to armed conflict and if power isn’t returned to the people in a democratic way the country “will go in the direction of a failed state.” She said that the movement against the military is now increasingly militarized. In the absence of international action, she feared that violence has been justified as the last resort. She stressed that the will of the people should be respected.

Watch the press briefing here

Central Asia

UNRCCA co-organizes workshop on counter-terrorism efforts using biometrics

From 19 to 21 October, the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA) in partnership with the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) and the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (UNCTED), discussed enhancing the capacity of the Central Asian states in the responsible use and sharing of biometric data to detect, prevent, investigate and prosecute terrorist offences and other serious crimes at borders. Forty representatives of State Customs and Border Services, Ministries of Interior and other relevant state institutions learned about the latest UN efforts in the area of counter-terrorism and biometrics, with a particular focus on risk assessment procedures while observing basic human rights.

Read more here

Lake Chad

Special Representatives begin a joint high-level visit to Cameroon and Chad

Special Representatives of the Secretary-General for Central Africa François Louncény Fall and for West Africa and the Sahel Mahamat Saleh Annadif undertook from 18 to 22 October a joint high-level mission to Cameroon and Chad. This was the first leg on a tour of the Lake Chad Basin countries affected by Boko Haram to assess the situation in the region and examine how the United Nations and its international partners could better support national efforts and subregional mechanisms in response to the persistent security, humanitarian impact and human rights challenges caused by the insurgency.

Read more here

West Africa

Deputy Special Representative concludes outreach mission to Guinea-Bissau 

Giovanie Biha, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Deputy Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), concluded on 20 October a three-day visit to the Republic of Guinea-Bissau. The visit focused on familiarization and outreach as part of the ongoing partnership between the UN system in Guinea-Bissau and UNOWAS. During the visit, she met with Secretary of State for Communities Salome dos Santos Allouche and Minister for Public Administration Maria Celina Vieira Tavares, among others She reiterated the continued engagement of UNOWAS to support peace and development in Guinea-Bissau.

Read more here


Deputy Special Representative visits Kismayo

Anita Kiki Gbeho, Deputy Special Representative for Somalia, met on 19 October with Jubaland President Ahmed Mohamed Islam Madobe to discuss women’s participation in the Upper House process. On her introductory visit to the Southern Federal Member state, she met with Jubaland’s leadership as well as electoral officials, including the chairperson of the State Electoral Implementation Team (SEIT), Siyad Mohamed Mursal, and civil society representatives. The country’s ongoing elections were a key topic on her agenda.

Read more here


Syrian Constitutional Committee session concludes without new constitutional text

The Sixth Session of the Syrian Constitutional Committee Small Body began its work in Geneva this week. Speaking to the media on 22 October, Special Envoy of the Secretary General Geir Pedersen detailed the agreements reached over the course of the past five days. Expressing his disappointment that the parties did not manage to present any new constitutional text, he stressed again the need for political will to find the right way of dealing with this process in order to start minimizing differences and identifying areas of commonality.

Watch full press stakeout here

Full transcript of press stakeout here


Short film festival to promote peace and reconciliation in Popayán, Cauca

From 19 to 22 October, the Verification Mission supported the Short Film Festival in Popayán, Cauca, organized to promote peace and reconciliation through the audiovisual arts. At the event, young filmmakers, between 17 and 28 years of age from areas affected by violence in the departments of Argelia, Buenos Aires, Inza and Popayán, presented their projects and discussed the production of stories in the territories. The closing ceremony, which saw the participation of indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities, included short films related to the past five years of the Peace Agreement in Colombia as well as a documentary produced by the Verification Mission. 

Former combatants in Tolima strengthen community relations

The Verification Mission accompanied, from 18 to 20 October, a group of 20 former combatants who carried out cleaning and improvement work on the road leading to the village and the local school to foster reconciliation in San José de las Hermosas, a rural area of the municipality of Chaparral, Tolima, in south-central Colombia. The leaders of the former FARC-EP used this region as a hideout, and its high mountains were the scene of heavy fighting with the military between 2000 and 2010.


Peacebuilding Commission meeting on Our Common Agenda

Secretary-General António Guterres presented to the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) his report on Our Common Agenda. In his remarks, he highlighted the role of the Commission and the Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) in pursuing the Agenda, as well as on the direction of its proposed New Agenda for Peace. He encouraged Member States to dedicate more resources to the work of the Commission and to ensure additional contributions to the PBF to enable these two instruments to meet the increasing demand. Member States pledged support for a timely follow-up to the Secretary-General’s recommendations and stressed the importance of empowering the reformed UN development system’s peacebuilding and sustaining peace work. They reiterated their commitment to further strengthen the advisory and bridging role to continue empowering women and youth peacebuilders, and to keep serving as a platform for global solidarity in response to the complex global crises of the 21st century.

Next Week

On the morning of 27 October, Special Envoy Parfait Onanga-Anyanga will brief the Security Council on developments in Sudan/South Sudan. Special Envoy Pedersen will brief on the situation in Syria in the afternoon. On 28 October, the Security Council will hold a debate on Cooperation between the UN and the African Union. 

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