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This Week in DPPA: 2 - 8 March 2024

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

Security Council calls for cessation of hostilities in Sudan for Ramadan 

On 8 March, the Security Council called for “an immediate cessation of hostilities during the month of Ramadan, and for all parties to the conflict to seek a sustainable resolution to the conflict through dialogue.” The Council also expressed its grave concern over the violence in Sudan, as well as the deteriorating humanitarian situation. While welcoming the Sudanese authorities’ decision to facilitate humanitarian access through the Tina and Renk border crossings, the Council called on all parties to enable unhindered humanitarian access, and “comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law, including to protect civilians and civilian objects.” The resolution also encouraged the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy on Sudan Ramtane Lamamra to “use his good offices with the parties and the neighbouring States, complementing and coordinating regional peace efforts.” 

“It is time to silence the guns and raise the volume for peace” in Sudan, Secretary-General tells Security Council

On 7 March, Secretary-General António Guterres recalled in the Council that April would mark one year since the outbreak of fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces. The conflict risked igniting “regional instability of dramatic proportions," he said, noting "it is time to silence the guns and raise the volume for peace." He also called on all parties in Sudan to “honour the values of Ramadan” by observing a cessation of hostilities. The humanitarian crisis was reaching “colossal proportions,” the Secretary-General continued, warning that “hunger is stalking Sudan.” 

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“Our repeated calls for protection of civilians appear to fall on deaf ears,” ASG Khiari tells Security Council in briefing on Ukraine 

On 8 March, Assistant-Secretary-General Khaled Khiari noted in the Council that, over the last two weeks, there had been “an intensification of attacks on civilians” as well as a further spread of the conflict across several regions of Ukraine. New strikes had also been reported inside the Russian Federation, he said. “Regrettably, our repeated calls for protection of civilians appear to fall on deaf ears.” ASG Khiari, noting that Friday was International Women’s Day, went on to pay tribute to Ukrainian women and girls who “despite the unspeakable horrors they have endured, continue to work to support their communities.”  

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Briefing Security Council on Afghanistan, Special Representative urges de facto authorities to reverse repressive policies towards women 

Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan Roza Otunbayeva told the Council that the second meeting of Special Envoys in Doha in February illustrated international consensus on the need for continued engagement. It also served to establish the group of Special Envoys as a standing mechanism and reiterated ongoing concerns about human rights in Afghanistan. Otunbayeva went on to express her concern over the denial of women’s access to education and work in Afghanistan, as well as their removal from many aspects of public life. She also pointed to recent arbitrary detentions for alleged Islamic dress code violations. This, she said, had a chilling effect among the female population, many of whom are now afraid to move in public. She called on the de facto authorities to reverse these restrictions. 

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Special Coordinator Wronecka attends Antalya Diplomacy Forum  

UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Joanna Wronecka attended the annual Antalya Diplomacy Forum in Türkiye. Speaking as a panelist in a roundtable discussion on the policy brief "A New Agenda for Peace," the Special Coordinator focused on the converging diplomatic efforts in Lebanon to prevent further escalation along the Blue Line. Panelists discussed recommendations for preventing conflict and violence in the run-up to the Summit of the Future. In the margins of the Forum, the Special Coordinator held meetings with the Deputy Foreign Ministers of Türkiye, Bahrain, Slovenia, the caretaker Foreign minister of Lebanon and the Deputy Secretary-General of the League of Arab States.  

Ahead of International Women’s Day, UN Special Coordinator meets women groups in Tripoli

This week, in anticipation of International Women’s Day, Special Coordinator Wronecka, accompanied by UN Women, met in the northern city of Tripoli with women-led groups and non-governmental organizations active in peacebuilding efforts. Wronecka welcomed the leadership role played by women to make their communities more peaceful, resilient, resourceful. She also met with students from the Azm university and visited the peacebuilding Ruwwad Al-Tanmeya Center, which offers a space for engaging youth across sectarian divides. The Special Coordinator also discussed with local women NGOs the need to improve the political participation of women. 

Coffee project in Cauca region, Colombia, aids reintegration of former combatants 

On 6 March, the UN Verification Mission visited one of the leading coffee production projects for former combatants in Timbío, Cauca. Its members are currently being trained in international standards for the commercialization of coffee and new lines of business in tourism and agricultural production. This initiative currently has four productive farms in Cauca and Valle del Cauca, with about 130 participants producing, processing, and marketing high-quality coffee. The UN Mission has accompanied this process since its beginnings in the former TATR of La Elvira, Cauca, in 2017, joining efforts with UNDP and various international cooperation donors. Currently, its emblematic product, "Café Sabor La Esperanza", is marketed directly in a wide range of cities in the country, and its members are also part of the Mesa Nacional del Café collective, which brings together coffee initiatives in eight departments of Colombia. 

Youth initiatives promote intercultural dialogue in North Macedonia

From 28 February to 2 March, over 30 young participants from nine municipalities in North Macedonia joined a bootcamp in Ohrid to develop initiatives promoting intercultural dialogue among young people. The participants strengthened their capacities for creating community-specific solutions and partnerships. The youth-driven ideas included volunteer opportunities for young people, which would give them a bigger voice in municipalities, legal training on participation in decision-making, a hackathon on technology, design and business development, inclusiveness of young people with disabilities, bringing young people together through street art, and uniting young people around plastic recycling campaigns. Through the camp and joint work, the youth from different cultures and communities have been building trust. The initiatives are contributing to creating positive narratives of diversity, inclusion and encouraging inter-group community interaction. The camp was organized by UNFPA within the Peacebuilding Fund-supported regional project "Youth for Inclusion, Equality and Trust".

SRSG Hennis-Plasschaert meets with President of Iraq, President of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan 

On 4 March, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, was received in Baghdad by the President of the Republic of Iraq, Abdul Latif Jamal Rashid. They discussed current political and security situation in the country.

Also on 4 March, Hennis-Plasschaert met in Baghdad with the President of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan Bafel Jalal Talabani. They discussed current political and security situation in the country, as well as preparations for the forthcoming elections in the Kurdistan Region.

DSRSG Cordone discusses Kurdistan Region elections with Kurdistan senior officials

On 6 March, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq Claudio Cordone met in Erbil with Kurdistan Region Presidency Chief of Staff Fawzi Hariri. They discussed preparations for the Kurdistan Region elections on 10 June. The United Nations in Iraq is fully committed to support Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission and Kurdistan Region authorities in this effort. [photo: DSRSG Cordone mtg KRI President Chief of Staff]. On 7 March, Cordone met in Erbil with Kurdistan Regional Government Minister of Interior Rêber Ahmed. They reviewed the situation in Sinjar and forthcoming elections for the Kurdistan Parliament.

DSRSG Isaczai visits World Food Programme environmental project 

On 7 March, Deputy Special Representative for Iraq Ghulam Isaczai, visited the World Food Programme (WFP) mangrove tree nursery project in Khor Al-Zubair, Basra, which aims to plant 95 million trees by 2029. He also engaged with school students at the site on environmental issues, highlighting the important role young people can play in raising awareness about climate change impact in Iraq.

UNAMI/OHCHR report calls for further measures to address domestic violence

On 7 March, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) jointly released a comprehensive report entitled “Accountability for Domestic violence in Iraq: Promoting justice and non-discrimination.” The report draws from a comprehensive analysis of data, including a review of 100 domestic violence court cases in Baghdad, Kirkuk, and Mosul, trial hearing observations, examination of court judgments and meetings with judges, lawyers, prosecutors, government officials, survivors and their families, as well as civil society. A draft of the report was shared with relevant government ministries through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

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UNAMI Human Rights Office marks International Days for Women and the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 

On 6 March, the UNAMI Human Rights Office organized an event to celebrate International Women’s Day with the theme “Invest in Women: Accelerate progress." Participants from Ninewa Governorate discussed the importance of women’s role in decision-making and leadership in different areas, and the challenges they faced in leading initiatives on climate action, such as using renewable energy to generate electricity in rural areas.

On 4 March, the Office organized an event in Mosul to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Participants discussed the current situation of ethnic and religious groups across Ninewa Governorate and human rights challenges.

Next Week

On 13 March, the Security Council will hold an open debate on “Promoting conflict prevention – empowering all actors including women and youth.” On 14 March, it will hold a briefing on the situation in the Middle East.