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This Week in DPPA: 2 - 8 December 2023

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

 "2023 has been devastating for the people of Ukraine," ASG Jenča tells Security Council 

On 6 December, Assistant Secretary-General for Europe, Central Asia and Americas Miroslav Jenča said that winter’s arrival and intensifying Russian Federation attacks on the country’s energy facilities were worsening the dire humanitarian conditions across the country. "Much like last year, the year 2023 has been devastating for the people of Ukraine,” he said, adding, “if urgent steps are not taken to reverse this trajectory, next year may be even more unpredictable and destructive.” 

Full remarks

“UN Security Council in Review” newsletter highlights work under Presidency of China

This week, DPPA’s Security Council Affairs Division published “UN Security Council in Review,” its monthly newsletter covering the work of the Council this month. Under the Presidency of China for the month of November, the Council held one signature event on promoting sustainable peace through common development. It held a total of 24 formal meetings and 8 consultations; it also held two Arria-formula meetings and made seven decisions. The Middle East, including the Palestinian question, was the most frequently considered country- or region-specific item in open and closed discussions. 

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Peacebuilding Impact Hub aims to transform prevention and peacebuilding with data-driven solutions

On 8 December, DPPA’s Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO), in collaboration with the Permanent Missions of Canada, Costa Rica, Germany, and South Sudan to the United Nations, launched the Peacebuilding Impact Hub, a collaborative initiative to bring together the UN, governments, think tanks, academia, and civil society peacebuilders. In her remarks, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support Elizabeth Spehar underscored the need — in addition to the moral and political — for empirical arguments in favor of investing in prevention and peacebuilding. This constitutes a fundamental aspect of the Peacebuilding Impact Hub's mission. During the panel discussion, participants emphasized the crucial role of impact data. The Peacebuilding Impact Hub will share knowledge from peacebuilders and partners; derive valuable insights and data-driven solutions; create space for learning; and demonstrate impact and cost savings of prevention.

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UNSOM launches podcast series on combating gender-based violence in Somalia

This week, the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and its partners launched a new podcast series, ‘Gobaad: Dignity for All,’ to raise awareness and take action against gender-based violence (GBV) in Somalia. The series features eight episodes that explore various aspects of GBV, such as online harassment, disability and gender inequality, and the role of the government and collective action of the international community in addressing this issue. It also features interviews with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, Catriona Laing, and the Somali Minister of Women and Human Rights Development, Khadijo Mohamed Diriye.

Listen here

Special Representative Imnadze addresses conference of Central Asian Women Leaders Caucus

On 4 December, Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and Head of the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA) Kaha Imnadze addressed the final conference of the Central Asian Women Leaders’ Caucus under the Chairmanship of Kazakhstan. Imnadze encouraged the Caucus to facilitate partnership between women organizations at the local level, to be more vocal on the situation of women and girls in Afghanistan and to further contribute to discussion and implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda. The members of the Caucus adopted a statement condemning all forms of violence against women and committing to step up measures to implement comprehensive measures to counter gender-based violence.

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High-level diplomatic talks in Beijing on collaboration with Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

On 4-5 December, SRSG Imnadze visited Beijing. In a meeting with the Special Representative on Eurasian Affairs from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Li Hui, the SRSG discussed the geopolitical situation as well as specific political, security and socio-economic developments in Central Asia. The SRSG also visited the Headquarters of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and met with its Secretary-General, Zhang Ming. They discussed cooperation between the two organizations to increase interaction and trust in the region, including through the implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and various youth initiatives.

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UNMHA Head Beary joins field patrols, meets with community members

On 4 December, the Head of the UN Mission to Support the Hudaydah Agreement (UNMHA), Michael Beary, joined one of the Mission's regular patrols, alongside Hudaydah governor Mohammed Quhim. They visited the communities of Ad Durayhimi, Bayt Al Faqih, At Tuhayta and Zabid. During the field patrol, Beary met 18-year-old Abdu Mohammed, who spoke about how he lost both his legs in a landmine incident in the area while tending to his animals. Through its monitoring and patrolling efforts, and oversight of mine action operations in Hudaydah governorate, UNMHA continues to maintain a strong presence on the ground, paving the way for a peaceful future in Yemen, in close cooperation with local authorities.

UNOWAS holds regional youth dialogue 

On 4 December, Special Representative and Head of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) Leonardo Santos Simão engaged in a regional dialogue to mark the commemoration of the eighth anniversary of Security Council Resolution 2250 (2015) on Youth, Peace and Security. Over 150 young men and women from West Africa and the Sahel region expressed their views and shared ideas on the implementation of the Youth, Peace and Security agenda. In remarks, SRSG Simão emphasized the crucial role young women and men play in conflict prevention, community resilience and social cohesion, bringing innovative solutions to problems.

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Special Coordinator Wronecka meets with UNIFIL colleagues in South Lebanon

On 7 December, Special Coordinator of the Secretary-General Joanna Wronecka visited south Lebanon to meet with the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), as well as with residents of the border areas affected by the exchanges of fire across the Blue Line. In a meeting with UNIFIL Force Commander Maj. Gen. Aroldo Lazaro, the Special Coordinator highlighted the critical work of UNIFIL peacekeepers in south Lebanon during this period of turbulence and their efforts to secure a return to a cessation of hostilities. They emphasized that the full implementation of Resolution 1701 is key to realizing peace, security, and stability in the region. Wronecka also met with displaced residents of border areas in a collective shelter in Tyre, currently receiving support from both the UN and the government.

Special Coordinator discusses Resolution 1701 with Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee

Special Coordinator Wronecka met this week with Parliament’s Foreign Affairs and Emigrants Committee, which includes parliamentarians from different sides of Lebanon’s political spectrum. The discussions focused on the importance of adhering to Security Council Resolution 1701 against the backdrop of skirmishes across the Blue Line between Hizbullah and Israel.  


Cycling for peace and reconciliation in Meta

On 2 December, the UN Verification Mission in Colombia accompanied the second “Tour for Peace” bicycle event, in which former combatants from the department of Meta cycled to raise awareness for reconciliation and peace. The cyclists started in the urban centre of the municipality of Mesetas and ended in the vereda, or village, La Guajira. It was a route of about 17 kilometers and was held in the commemoration of the seventh anniversary of the Peace Agreement. The Mayor's Office of Mesetas supported the event jointly with the UN Development Programme, the Agency for Reincorporation and Normalization (ARN), the Public Security Forces and the HALO Trust.

On Día de las Velitas, former combatants light candles for peace  

This week, former combatants in the new reintegration area of the vereda La Pista in the municipality of Uribe in the department of Meta in the department of Meta were joined by the Verification Mission’s regional office of Villavicencio in commemorating the “Día de las Velitas” (Day of Candles), a significant date for Colombians to reaffirm the meaning of unity, peace and hope in the country. 


UNAMI attends full-scale real-time election simulation 

On 7 December, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq (UNAMI) for Political Affairs and Electoral Assistance Claudio Cordone attended the fourth and final full-scale real-time election simulation at the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC). The simulation, which involved 38,040 polling stations across Iraq, was conducted successfully. The IHEC has now finalized all necessary preparations and is technically ready for the Governorate Council elections on 18 December 2023.

UNAMI delegation meets with Independent High Electoral Commission

On 5 December, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNAMI Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert and Deputy Special Representative for Iraq for Political Affairs and Electoral Assistance Claudio Cordone met with the Chairman and Board of Commissioners of the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) at their national office in Baghdad. The IHEC Chairman and Board of Commissioners provided comprehensive updates on the preparations for the upcoming governorate council elections scheduled for 18 December 2023. 

UN Iraq marks International Volunteer Day

Marking International Volunteer Day on 5 December with the Government of Iraq and civil society organization partners, Deputy Special Representative/Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq Ghulam Mohammed Isaczai emphasized the importance of volunteering as a critical pathway for young people to learn new skills and connect labour market demand and employment. “We value and recognise the millions of volunteers across the world and our 123 UN Volunteers, both National and International, currently deployed in Iraq — 48 per cent of whom are females — who are providing expertise and support to UN activities in Human Rights, Climate Change and Environment, Health, Community Engagement, Communication, and Operational Support”, the DSRSG noted in his speech at the event held in Baghdad. 

UNAMI Human Rights Office holds roundtable discussions and consultative workshops

On 4 December, the UNAMI Human Rights Office organized a roundtable discussion as part of the 16 Days of Activism. The event aimed to address online violence against women and girls. Participants engaged in a comprehensive dialogue on challenges and potential solutions pertaining to online violence, and suggested recommendations to address this issue.

As part of the ‘Human Rights 75 Initiative’ to mark the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UNAMI Human Rights Office held a consultative workshop in Baghdad on 4 December on the theme of advancing racial justice. During the workshop, participants heard presentations on the importance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in promoting racial justice and the need to strengthen the national legal framework to promote equality. 

On 7 December, the UNAMI Human Rights Office organized a round table discussion in Mosul under the theme “enhancing child protection.” The event discussed forms of child right violations and raised awareness on how to effectively protect the rights of children in areas that have been affected by conflict. Participants identified gaps in relation to the protection of children and discussed strategies for promoting child rights. 

Next Week

On 12 December, the Security Council will hold a briefing on the 1591 Committee, established pursuant to Resolution 1591 (2005) concerning Sudan, as well as on Haiti sanctions. On 13 December, it will hold consultations on Yemen and a briefing on UNOCA/LRA (the “Lord’s Resistance Army”). On 15 December, it will hold an open debate on small arms: addressing the threat posed by diversion, illicit trafficking and misuse of small arms and light weapons and their ammunition to peace and security.


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