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This Week in DPPA: 21 - 27 March 2020

21 - 27 March 2020

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


Call for global ceasefire 
Under-Secretary-General Rosemary DiCarlo echoed  Secretary-General António Guterres' call for an immediate  global ceasefire on 24 March. “Conflict can have many roots, but once declared it not only kills and maims, it often destroys a society's capacity to cope with fundamental issues. Today, it's COVID-19 and the cataclysmic threat it poses, in Yemen, Syria, the Sahel ... End the violence. Silence the guns now,” Ms. DiCarlo said.  
Syrians are acutely vulnerable to COVID-19 
Special Envoy Geir O. Pedersen appealed for a complete, immediate nationwide ceasefire throughout Syria to enable an all-out-effort to suppress COVID-19 in a statement on 24 March. “Syrians are acutely vulnerable to COVID-19,” Mr. Pedersen stated. “Let’s end the violence, work together to combat COVID-19 in Syria, and work to move ahead on a political way out of the crisis in Syria.” 
Read the full statement here 

Special Representative asks Iraqi politicians to unite in the fight against COVID-19  
Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, Special Representative and Head of UNAMI, issued a message on 26 March where she called on political leaders in the country to confront the COVID-19 pandemic and unite. “The people of Iraq have overcome such hardship in the past that I am confident they can weather this storm with solidarity and resolve. It is my sincere hope that political leaders will at long last recognize the urgency of the situation and come together in a spirit of national unity”, the Special Representative said. 
Read the full message here 
Read more in UN News 

On 23 March, Ms. Hennis-Plasschaert met with President Barham Salih, with whom she discussed the efforts being made to contain the spread of COVID-19 and the support the UN, led by WHO, is providing to Iraq in combating the virus. The same day, she also met with Foreign Minister Mohammed Al-Hakim to discuss the general situation in Iraq and the work of the UN.  

The Special Representative and representatives from WHO visited the Iraq Ministry of Health on 22 March, to show support for their efforts to combat COVID-19. Ms. Hennis-Plasschaert joined their call to Iraqis across the country to follow the instructions and advice from health, religious, civilian and security authorities to practice social distancing and strict hygiene in order to protect their families and communities from the spread of the virus.  
Watch the video here  

Condemnation of grave violations of humanitarian pause in Libya 
The Acting Special Representative and Head of UNSMIL, Stephanie Williams strongly condemned the grave violations of the humanitarian pause in Libya in a statement on 24 March. “Despite the calls by many UN Member States, UNSMIL and the Secretary-General for an immediate cessation of hostilities to enable joint approaches to the COVID-19 pandemic, armed clashes, shelling, and mobilization of forces in Libya continue, with unacceptable disregard for the safety and wellbeing of the civilian population,” Ms. Williams said.  
Read the press release on UNSMIL’s website 
Call to silence the guns in Central Africa 
François Louncény Fall, Special Representative for Central Africa and Head of UNOCA, issued a statement on 26 March, where he called for immediate ceasefires in Central Africa in order to provide an effective response to COVID-19. “Together we must now fight this plague, which does not spare any combatants, civilians or political leaders,” Mr. Louncény Fall stated.  
Read the full statement on UNOCA’s website  

A message to our partners  
Our Donor Relations Team issued a message to DPPA’s partners this week regarding the impact of the coronavirus outbreak: “The COVID-19 crisis will have a significant impact on DPPA’s operations, but the need for our political analysis and technical expertise on conflict prevention, mediation, peacebuilding and sustaining peace will remain unchanged, if not become even more critical. Request for our services will undoubtedly be high in the coming weeks and months, as we witness the full scale of COVID-19’s impact on the global economy and its social and political implications.” 
Read more on our website 

For up-to-date information on COVID-19 and its impact, please visit the following websites:   

WHO website  
UN coronavirus website 


Security Council

Council worried about significant escalation of hostilities in Libya   
The Security Council held a video conference on the work of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) on 26 March. Stephanie Williams, Acting Special Representative, briefed Council members, who expressed their concern at the significant escalation of hostilities on the ground in Libya and at the possible impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. They called on the parties to de-escalate the fighting urgently, immediately cease hostilities and ensure unhindered access of humanitarian aid throughout the country. 

Please see the Security Council website for an updated program of work. 



Special Representative Yamamoto leaves Kabul  
Tadamichi Yamamoto left his position as Special Representative and Head of UNAMA this week. In a message, Mr. Yamamoto said that: I depart Kabul with one wish, a wish that I share with millions of Afghans: for peace to return to Afghanistan. May 2020 be the year that the war ends and Afghans can look forward with hope to a peaceful and flourishing society that they so richly deserve. It has been a rare privilege and honour to head the UN family in Afghanistan in the service of all Afghan people. After completing my assignment of more than five years I extend profound thanks to my colleagues and so many Afghan and international partners and friends. The challenges remain daunting; but I have every confidence that they can be overcome because of the Afghan people’s capabilities, for which I have a great admiration. The United Nations will be there, shoulder-to-shoulder, with the Afghan people in the time ahead. 
For more Information, contact us 


New Special Representative appointed 
Secretary-General António Guterres announced the appointment of Deborah Lyons of Canada as his new Special Representative and Head UNAMA on 24 March. Ms. Lyons is a diplomat with 21 years of professional experience in political affairs, international cooperation and economic development. Most recently she served as Ambassador of Canada to Israel and from 2013 until 2016 as Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.  
Read more here 



UN congratulates Somalia on reaching ‘decision point’ for debt relief 
The UN congratulates Somalia for reaching the Highly Indebted Poor Countries Initiative’s (HIPC) ‘Decision Point’ for debt relief – an historic milestone on the country’s path to peace and prosperity. “Achievement of the HIPC ‘Decision Point’ is a major step forward for Somalia’s economic progress, allowing the country to advance towards its long-term objective of inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction. All Somalis can be proud of this achievement,” said the Special Representative and Head of UNSOM, James Swan. 
Read more on UNSOM’s website 


New York

Launch of the Peacebuilding Fund’s strategy for 2020-2024 
The Secretary-General’s Peacebuilding Fund Strategy 2020-2024 was launched on 26 March via videoconference, hosted by the German Foreign Office. It is the most ambitious strategy for the Fund yet, with a target of $1.5 billion over five years. The strategy is a plan to make possible the quantum leap the Secretary-General has urged for the Fund. It also aims to counter the continuing trend of aid volatility in conflict-affected countries. 

The Fund’s partners agreed that conflict prevention is more critical than ever, and pointed to added risks posed by COVID-19. “The Peacebuilding Fund is working within its mandate and strategy and through the UN system and partners to assess the impact of the pandemic on conflict and peacebuilding, and do what it is designed to do: provide timely, catalytic and risk-tolerant support to help prevent and mitigate conflict risks,” said Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Oscar Fernandez-Taranco.  
Read the new strategy here




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