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This Week in DPPA: 21 - 28 October 2023

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

Middle East

General Assembly adopts resolution calling for immediate and sustained 'humanitarian truce' in Gaza amid deadlock in the Security Council  

Briefing the Security Council on 24 October, Secretary-General António Guterres reiterated his appeal for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza and said no party to an armed conflict is above international humanitarian law. With the war in Gaza raging and risking spiraling throughout the region, he appealed to all to pull back from the brink before the violence claims even more lives and spreads even farther. 

Tor Wennesland, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Process, also briefed the Council. He reported that the Secretary-General and he have been pursuing “any and every opportunity to address the situation on the ground and to prevent further civilian death and misery.” He stressed that it is critical that international community employ all collective efforts to end the bloodletting and prevent any further expansion of hostilities.

On 27 October, the General Assembly adopted a resolution calling for immediate and sustained 'humanitarian truce' between Israeli forces and Hamas militants in Gaza. The resolution demands “continuous, sufficient and unhindered” provision of essential supplies and services into the Gaza Strip. It also calls for the “immediate and unconditional release” of all civilians held captive as well as demanding their safety, well-being and humane treatment in compliance with international law.

Read more here

Security Council

Special Representative Salvador stresses “enormous significance” of Resolution 2699 and Multinational Security Support Mission

María Isabel Salvador, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH), briefed the Security Council on the situation in Haiti. She stressed the “enormous significance” of Security Council resolution 2699, adopted earlier this month, authorizing Member States to establish and deploy a Multinational Security Support (MSS) mission in the country. She said this support would be crucial in helping the Haitian National Police re-establish security conditions to conducive to elections. The Special Representative further called for adequate resources to allow the UN to run programmes and projects to support the environment in which the MSS mission will operate.

Her full remarks here

António Guterres: “Women’s participation should be a default, not an afterthought”  

The Secretary-General spoke at the Security Council on Women, Peace and Security on 25 October. He said that the world needs to take note and be inspired by the immense contributions of women to global peace and security. Women’s participation should be a default, not an afterthought, he said, noting that far too many women’s organizations struggle to fund their essential work, as military spending soars; and far too many perpetrators of sexual violence walk free and far too many peace processes exclude women.

Read more here

Women, Peace and Security

“Peace Begins with Her” exhibition celebrates role of women in overcoming conflict

DPPA was among the organizers, together with the Department of Peace Operation (DPO), UN Women and the Elsie Initiative Fund, the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, of a photo exhibition entitled, “Peace Begins with Her” on 25 October. Marking the 23rd anniversary of the landmark Security Council resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, a mosaic of 50 giant portraits was pasted on the pavement in front of United Nations Headquarters as a reminder of the powerful role women play in peace efforts when they are not ignored or excluded. UN Women Executive Director Sima Bahous, Under-Secretary-General of DPO Jean-Pierre Lacroix and Brazilian Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira, whose country is presiding over the Security Council this month, were among the visitors to the exhibition. More than 200 people had their portrait taken and added their own voice to the campaign.

Launch of the documentary to highlight women peacebuilders in Colombia

As part of the commemoration of Security Council Resolution 1325, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and Head of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia, Carlos Ruiz Massieu, participated in the screening of the documentary, “When the Waters Flow as One: A Women and Peace Security story”. The film, which highlights the strength, resilience and resilience of women peacebuilders in Colombia, was developed by UN Women in Colombia, with the support of the Swedish Embassy and in coordination with the country’s recently completed Truth Commission.

The SRSG said the documentary was a tribute to Colombian women, whose collective work was essential to overcoming more than five decades of conflict. It talks about pain, loss, resilience, perseverance and leadership, he said, adding: "We must remember in every process, in every corner of Colombia and the world, that without women, there is no peace”.


UNAMA releases update on the human rights situation in Afghanistan

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) released on 23 October an update on the human rights situation in Afghanistan. Covering the period from July to September 2023, the report is based on monitoring undertaken by UNAMA’s Human Rights Section. In contrast with the same period in 2022, UNAMA documented far fewer civilian casualties, largely due to a significant reduction in improvised explosive device attacks. Women and girls continue to be excluded from secondary and tertiary education, and the de facto authorities took various steps throughout the reporting period to ensure that existing bans were fully implemented.

Read more here

Central Asia

UNRCCA Preventive Diplomacy Academy organizes online session on negotiation skills

On 23 October, the Preventive Diplomacy Academy of the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA) organized a special online session for the participants from the Central Asian states and Afghanistan on negotiation skills. The event underscored the crucial role of the UN in preventive diplomacy, utilizing political and diplomatic tools to prevent and de-escalate conflicts. Participants gained insight into mediation as fundamental tools for achieving peaceful conflict resolution, and the pivotal role of proficient negotiators in finding mutually acceptable solutions to reduce tensions.

Read more here


Top officials in Somalia reaffirm commitment to state- and peacebuilding efforts 

On 25 October, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) Catriona Laing spoke to the media in Mogadishu. She was accompanied by the Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representatives for Somalia, Anita Kiki Gbeho and George Conway. Among other issues, the the Special Representative emphasized the need for collective agreement on election models and timelines, particularly to include Puntland. She also highlighted the importance of the Constitutional Review Process.

Read more here

Central Africa

Special Representative Abarry reiterates UN support to peace and reconciliation in the Central African Republic 

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and Head of the UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), Abdou Abarry, participated in a meeting on 23 October dedicated to the strategic review of progress made in the implementation of the Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in the Central African Republic (APPR-RCA) and the Luanda Road Map. The event provided an opportunity to take stock of progress made so far in this process as well as the challenges and prospects it offers in relation to country’s sustainable development. SRSG Abarry recalled that cross-border security is one of the remaining challenges to be addressed that requires a multilateral approach. SRSG Abarry reiterated that UNOCA and the UN System in general would remain “engaged with regional partners to support the Central African Republic in the implementation of the national policies” supportive of peace and stability.

Read more here

West Africa

Special Representative Simão calls for greater efforts to better support the Sahel region

Leonardo Santos Simão, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), concluded on 25 October a three-day working visit to Mauritania. The Special Representative met President Mohamed Ould Cheikh El Ghazouani and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohamed Salem Ould Merzoug, and Executive Secretary of the G5 Sahel Éric Tiaré, among others. Discussions with the Mauritanian authorities focused on the humanitarian, political and security challenges facing the Sahel region, and the need to better coordinate the efforts of different partners to contribute to the consolidation of development, security and peace. Special Representative Simão praised the Mauritanian authorities for welcoming and supporting refugees and for their unwavering willingness to play a leading role in finding solutions to the challenges that impact development, peace and security in the Sahel.

Read more about his visit here


Peacebuilding Fund Partners visit Mauritania 

Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support Elizabeth Spehar led a Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) partners visit to Mauritania from 22 to 27 October, with representatives from Denmark, Germany, Sweden, the UK, the EU, and three members of the PBF Advisory Board. PBF has invested $22 million in the country since 2018 to strengthen prevention and conflict resolution, local capacities, gender-sensitive solutions to the prevention of violent extremism, and address the impact of climate change. During the visit, the President of Mauritania noted that the investment helped reduce tensions at the border with Mali. The Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development appreciated PBF’s support in addressing social cohesion between host communities, refugees and displaced populations. The delegation had a number of exchanges, including with the Mourchidates, a network of religious women leaders working to deconstruct the radical rhetoric of extremist groups using religious arguments. The delegation also visited southeast Mauritania, where Mbera camp is currently home to some 97,000 Malian refugees, with around 8,000 more living outside the camp. PBF investments are helping with nature-based solutions and assisting refugees and host communities to work together, for example, on early warning mechanisms and tracking of transhumance.  


Special Envoy Grundberg concludes visit to London 

Hans Grundberg, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, concluded a visit to London on 24 October, where he engaged in a series of meetings with Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Minister of State for the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, and the United Nations. The Special Envoy stressed the pressing need for a political solution to the Yemeni crisis, emphasizing the importance of the international community and Security Council Member States working together in a concerted effort to bring Yemenis closer to the peace they aspire to achieve. The Special Envoy also attended a round-table discussion with United Kingdom Members of Parliament.

Read more here


Special Coordinator Wronecka focuses on need to keep Lebanon safe

Joanna Wronecka, Special Coordinator of the Secretary-General for Lebanon, held a round of meetings this week with Lebanese officials as well as political and religious stakeholders. Discussions focused on shielding Lebanon from conflict and Lebanon’s emergency preparedness, where the Special Coordinator stressed the need for de-escalation along Lebanon’s southern border with Israel and the need to prioritize its national interests and keep Lebanon safe. With caretaker Foreign Minister Abdallah Bouhabib and separately with caretaker Defense Minister Maurice Sleem, the Special Coordinator reiterated that ceasing hostilities and implementing Resolution1701 was prerequisite for stability and security.

With the caretaker Minister of Information Ziad Makary, the Special Coordinator discussed the public information preparedness measures and the critical role of the media in times of crisis, with a focus on countering the proliferation of misinformation and hate speech. The Special Coordinator also discussed with Grand Mufti of the Republic Sheikh Abdel-Latif Derian and the Deputy Head of the Higher Shiite Council Sheikh Ali El-Khatib the importance of supporting diplomatic efforts to de-escalate tensions. The Special Coordinator also met a number of parliamentarians to discuss the urgency of promoting calm and addressing people’s needs.


Deputy Special Representative Claudio Cordone reiterates women's participation in political processes

On 24 October, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Iraq Claudio Cordone met with Yossra Mohsen, Director General, Women Empowerment Directorate, and Chair of the Supreme Committee to Support Women’s Participation in the Governorate Council Elections, along with other committee members. They discussed efforts to strengthen cooperation with the Supreme Committee and the Independent High Electoral Commission, as well as the High Judicial Council and civil society, on promoting women’s participation in the elections. DSRSG Cordone reiterated the United Nations readiness to support activities and measures to empower women participation and address protection concerns in the run up to the elections, in line with UNAMI’s mandate. 

On 25 October, Deputy Special Representative Cordone met with civil society representatives in Baghdad. Among other topics, the discussions focused on the protection of women’s rights and civic space, promoting of women’s participation in the Governorates Council elections, and collaboration to enhance implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1325 on the advancement of women. 

UN Water Taskforce meets to address Iraq's water crisis

On 24 October, the Deputy Special Representative/Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, Ghulam Mohammed Isaczai, chaired a meeting of the UN Water Taskforce with the participation of representatives of the Government of Iraq and the international community to discuss the National Policy Dialogue to address the water crisis in Iraq. Let’s work together to secure our precious resources. 

UNAMI Human rights Office organizes capacity-building trainings 

On 20 and 21 October, UNAMI’s Human Rights Office and INSM Network organized a training on “Digital Security and Digital Rights” for 20 participants including human rights defenders, activists, journalists, bloggers, lawyers, and staff of the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights. The training provided the participants with practical tools on how to safely maneuver through cyberspace, strengthen their access to the right to freedom of expression and enhance protection against hate speech in the digital environment.  

On 23 October, the UNAMI Human Rights Office organized a training for staff members of the Ministry of Interior’s Family Protection Units (FPUs) from Kirkuk, Salah al-Din, and Diyala on working with survivors of domestic violence. Seven FPU investigators and assistants benefitted from this training as the participants gained insights on how to interview victims who were subjected to traumatic experiences. 

Western Balkans

UN Partners organize Football Competition to promote social inclusivity and empower youth with disabilities

In partnership with the Special Olympics, UNDP and UNFPA organized a football competition event for youth with intellectual and physical disabilities in Tauk Bahçe/Tauk Bašta on 23 October. The event marked Poverty Eradication Week and Day with the message ‘Dignity for All in Practice’, as part of the regional joint UN initiative ‘Youth 4 Inclusion Equality & Trust’ project, supported by the UN Secretary-General’s Peacebuilding Fund. Around 100 young people and family members of different ethnic backgrounds from seven municipalities gathered to play, compete, and spend time together. The event was organized to contribute to enhanced social cohesion, inclusivity, trust, and the empowerment of young people with disabilities. The initiative supports a healthy lifestyle for young people, while also countering hate speech and negative gender norms.

Young leaders from Western Balkans and refugee communities join forces at Regional Youth Camp for inclusion and trust

From 21-23 October, 23 young women and men from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia and Serbia, as well as two young refugees from Burundi and Afghanistan who live and work in Serbia, participated in a Regional Youth Camp at Lake Palić in Serbia. They participated in workshops on youth activism, social entrepreneurship, and video and photo production. They shared experiences on activism and showed that they can work well together as a team. The regional youth camp at Palić is part of the "Youth 4 Inclusion, Equality & Trust" project. The closing of the camp was marked by the symbolic planting of a birch tree, as a sign of fostering understanding and trust among young people in the Western Balkans.

Skopje Regional Conference: Youth Policies for the Future

On 25-26 October, in Skopje, over 50 young decision-makers including mayors, members of municipal councils, youth officers, and representatives of civil society and local youth councils from the Western Balkans discussed youth policies and constructive narratives at the local level. The discussions encompassed a wide array of topics, including youth engagement at the local level, the creation of youth-friendly spaces, the implementation of measures for the benefit of young individuals within municipalities, countering hate speech, promoting respect for diversity, fostering social inclusion, and advancing gender equality. The event was organized as part of the regional UN project ‘Youth 4 Inclusion, Equality & Trust’.

Next Week

On Monday, the Security Council will discuss the situation in Syria. On Tuesday, the Council is scheduled to discuss Ukraine. For the month of November, China will take over the presidency. 

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