Welcome to the United Nations

This Week in DPPA: 20 - 26 January 2024

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

Two-state solution ‘only way to avoid endless cycles of fear, hatred, violence’, Secretary-General tells Security Council debate on Middle East 

The Security Council met on 23-24 January to discuss the situation in the Middle East. Opening the meeting, the Secretary-General once again demanded the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages, called for rapid, safe, unhindered, expanded and sustained humanitarian access throughout Gaza and renewed his appeal for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire. He told the Council that a lasting end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can only come through a two-State solution. “Any refusal to accept the two-State solution by any party must be firmly rejected,” he said.  

Read full remarks

Special Representative Salvador appeals to Member States for timely deployment of Multinational Security Support mission

Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH) María Isabel Salvador briefed the Security Council on 25 January. She reported that the country remains plagued by escalating violence — with an unprecedented surge in kidnappings, rapes and other crimes committed by armed gangs, which she said increasingly affects the livelihoods of people and undermines our humanitarian activities. Salvador said she will continue to encourage all Haitian stakeholders to effectively prepare for the deployment of the Multinational Security Support mission (MSS) and renewed her appeal to Member States to contribute generously to the non-UN operation.

Read full remarks

USG DiCarlo warns of "dangerous trajectory of the war" as attacks against Ukraine intensify

Rosemary A. DiCarlo, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, briefed the Security Council on 25 January on the downing of a Russian military aircraft in the Belgorod region on 24 January. In recent weeks, she said the scale and intensity of attacks against Ukraine have only grown, highlighting the dangerous trajectory of the war. DiCarlo emphasized the United Nations' inability to verify the reports or circumstances surrounding the crash, noting that both Russia and Ukraine are conducting separate investigations into the incident. “What is clear is that the incident took place in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and ongoing war,” she said, urging all concerned to refrain from actions, rhetoric, or allegations to avoid further escalation. 

Read full remarks

Arria Formula: Member States emphasize comprehensive approaches to peacebuilding and sustaining peace

On 22 January, the Permanent Missions of Japan, Guyana and Mozambique jointly hosted an Arria formula meeting of the Security Council on “Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace through Comprehensive Approaches, Investment in People, including Empowerment of Women.” Assistant Secretary-General for the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific Khaled Khiari emphasized that the Secretary General’s “A New Agenda for Peace” provides recommendations for these comprehensive approaches. More than 50 Member States participated and reiterated the importance of national ownership and called for better coordination within the UN system. The implementation of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda was deemed inseparable to conflict prevention and sustaining peace. Many Member States stressed the importance of stronger coordination between the Peacebuilding Commission and the Security Council, recognizing the Peacebuilding Fund as a crucial tool for peacebuilding and prevention.

UNAMA releases update on human rights situation in Afghanistan 

This week, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) released an update on the human rights situation in the country, covering October to December 2023. Instances of officials of the de facto Department for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice impeding women from working or accessing services because they were unmarried or did not have a male escort were recorded by the UN. The update also noted that the de facto authorities continue to implement corporal punishment in public places, usually announcing the punishments, and the crimes for which they were implemented, on social media. 

Read full update

Nurturing the future through education in Icononzo, Tolima  

On 20 January, the UN Verification Mission in Colombia accompanied the "Plowing for Education" graduation ceremony, an initiative of the Norwegian Refugee Council and the Minister of National Education. The event took place in the rural area of the municipality of Icononzo, Tolima, in central Colombia. Fifteen students, including nine former combatants, successfully graduated with a high school diploma. During the ceremony, participants in the reintegration process showcased their productive projects, illustrating their commitment to enhancing their skills and economic opportunities.

Special Coordinator Wronecka holds consultations with diplomatic community in Lebanon

Joanna Wronecka, the Special Coordinator of the Secretary-General for Lebanon, held a round of meetings this week with ambassadors of the five permanent members and non-permanent members of the Security Council in addition to ambassadors of regional stakeholders to Lebanon’s security and stability, including Saudi Arabia and Iran. Discussions focused on the importance of preserving Lebanon’s security and stability in this period of regional turbulence, by encouraging the implementation of resolution 1701 and facilitating solutions to Lebanon’s institutional vacuums, notably the presidency.

In her meeting with caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Saadeh Al Shami, the Special Coordinator discussed fiscal reforms, emphasizing enhanced revenue generation and strengthened social protections. This discussion comes amid Lebanon Parliament’s consideration of the Cabinet’s 2024 budget proposal. Wronecka reiterated the importance of moving forward critical financial and monetary reforms, especially those required by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). They also exchanged views on the impact of the ongoing skirmishes between Israel and Hizbullah across the Blue Line on Lebanon’s fragile economy. They explored ways to protect Lebanon and prevent further escalation.

Special Envoy Grundberg engages in discussions in Riyadh on Yemen

Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen Hans Grundberg held discussions this week in Riyadh. Among others, the Special Envoy discussed on 24 January with the Yemeni Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ahmed Bin Mubarak, current challenges and ways to protect recent progress towards a nationwide ceasefire, measures to improve the lives of people living in Yemen, and the resumption of an inclusive political process under UN auspices. He also met with the Saudi and Emirati Ambassadors to Yemen and the Ambassadors to Yemen of the Security Council’s five permanent members. During these meetings, he stressed the need to maintain a conducive environment for continued dialogue in Yemen and to sustain concerted regional and international support for Yemen.

Special Representative Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert warns Iraq of escalating risks in the Middle East conflict 

On 20 January, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert issued a statement noting that the Middle East is at a critical juncture, with the conflict raging in Gaza and armed action elsewhere threatening a major conflagration. Despite the Government’s efforts to prevent the escalation of tensions, continued attacks - originating from within and outside of Iraq’s borders - stand to undo the hard-won stability of the country and the achievements it has made in recent years. Hennis-Plasschaert stressed that Iraq’s stability and security are front and centre in all UN engagements, reiterating the appeal to all sides to exercise maximum restraint. 

UNAMI Human Rights Office organizes national conference on journalistic reporting in Iraq, showcasing impactful training for women in media

On 20 January, UNAMI’s Human Rights Office and the Iraqi Women Journalists’ Forum (IWJF) jointly organized a national conference on journalistic reporting inclusive of human rights and women’s rights. The event featured presentations of six reportages/videos created during IWJF-run trainings held in 2023 across Iraq, which delved into topics such as employment challenges in Heet city (Anbar Governorate), pollution in the Kufa river (Baghdad), violence against journalists, women candidates' election challenges, the situation of women detainees, and difficulties faced by children with special needs. The conference marked the conclusion of activities led by IWJF, supported by UNAMI’s Human Rights Office. Between 2022 and 2023, a total of 283 women journalists, bloggers, writers, and human rights defenders benefited from the trainings. 

UNAMI initiatives address climate change through roundtable discussion and clean energy transition

The UNAMI’s Human Rights Office hosted a roundtable in Mosul on 21 January, focusing on "Human Rights and Climate Change." The event identified climate challenges in Nineveh Governorate, emphasizing the need for improved policies and resources. Participants proposed actionable steps for local authorities and civil society.

As part of the broader UN initiative against climate change, UNAMI is also actively reducing its carbon footprint in Iraq. UNAMI's solar power project, initiated in 2019, progressed from 11% to a goal of 50% clean energy consumption. It aims to generate over 5 Gigawatts annually, easing strain on the national grid. This multifaceted approach includes local initiatives, marking a significant stride towards a cleaner, greener future, as aligned with the Secretary-General's call for a fair, just, and urgent transition to clean energy.

Learn more about the climate action initiatives

Secretary-General appoints new DSRSG in Somalia

On 26 January, the Secretary-General announced the appointment of Raisedon Zenenga of Zimbabwe as his new Deputy Special Representative in the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM). He has over 30 years of experience in the United Nations, including with United Nations missions in Liberia, Libya, Iraq-Kuwait, Sierra Leone, Somalia and South Sudan, as well as at the UN Headquarters.

Read more

Next Week

The Security Council will discuss the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA) behind closed doors on 30 January. The Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) will hold an ambassadorial-level meeting on Women, Peace and Security on 31 January at 10 a.m. (Trusteeship Council Chamber). On 2 February, the PBC will hold a Formal Meeting (Conclusion of 2023 Chairpersonship and Induction of 2024 Chair) at 3 p.m. (CR1).