UN Envoy warns against escalating situation in the Middle East
Special Coordinator Nickolay Mladenov briefed the UN Security Council on the situation in the Middle East on 24 February. "The situation is escalating as we speak with continuing projectiles being fired from Gaza and retaliatory Israeli airstrikes," Mr. Mladenov said. Palestinian Islamic Jihadist fired more than 60 rockets towards Israel, with Israel Defense Forces (IDF) responding with multiple airstrikes in the Gaza strip. The Special Coordinator called for “an immediate stop” to the firing of rockets and mortars that “only risk dragging Gaza into another round of hostilities with no end in sight.” Mr. Mladenov also briefed on the situation in the West Bank and on the lack of negotiations towards a two-state solution.
Read his full remarks here
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Swan: ”2020 has the potential to be a transformative year for Somalia”
James Swan, Special Representative and Head of UNSOM, briefed the Council on the situation in Somalia on 24 February. ”2020 has the potential to be a transformative year for Somalia,” Mr. Swan said, referring to the upcoming elections in the country, finalizing the federal constitution, achieving debt relief, and consolidating a federal state. “Only by working together, as Somalis, as partners, and in a spirit of unity and compromise, will progress be made,” the Special Representative concluded.
Read his full remarks here
Security Council extends Yemen travel ban and asset freeze
The Security Council authorized on 25 February a one-year extension of the asset freeze and travel ban imposed in 2014 on individuals or entities threatening peace, security and stability in Yemen. The Council also extended the mandate of the Panel of Experts tasked with gathering information about those who potentially meet the criteria for designation. It requested that the Panel provide a midterm update to the Committee no later than 28 July 2020, and a final report to the Council itself no later than 28 January 2021.
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Read the latest report of the Panel of Experts here
DiCarlo: "We must all assume our responsibility to do all we can to stop this violence"
The Council held an emergency meeting on the situation in north-west Syria on 28 February. Under-Secretary-General Rosemary DiCarlo briefed Council members on the latest developments. “Civilians in Idlib are living under daily threat and terror, seeking refuge from airstrikes and volleys of shells and mortar rounds,” Ms. DiCarlo said. “They are NOT asking for a pause in the fighting. They are asking for an end to the killing. We must all assume our responsibility to do all we can to stop this violence”.
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Assistant Secretary-General Jenča visits Guatemala and Mexico
iroslav Jenča, Assistant Secretary-General for Europe, Central Asia and Americas, visited Guatemala this week. Mr. Jenča discussed the Sustainable Development Goals, rule of law, anti-corruption, regional cooperation and human rights, including of women and indigenous peoples, with President Alejandro Giammattei on 24 February. He also met with representatives from civil society, indigenous peoples and the private sector.
Continuing to Mexico, the Assistant Secretary-General met with Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard on 27 February. They discussed Agenda 2030 for sustainable development, the Comprehensive Development Plan, UN cooperation to prevent violence against women, and exchanged views on sub-regional issues.
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Ex-combatants attend Colombia's most important tourism fair
The ANATO tourism fair (Colombian Association of Travel Agents and Tourism) opened its doors in Bogota on 26 February. The more than 25,000 attendees can learn about the tourism offerings of different national and international destinations offered by exponents from Colombia and more than 35 countries. This year, and thanks to the Peace Agreement, tourist initiatives of ex-combatants in the process of reintegration from Dabeiba (Antioquia), Planadas (Tolima), Vista Hermosa, La Macarena and Mesetas (Meta), Miravalle (Caquetá), Pondores (Cesar) and Charras (Guaviare) are on display. This initiative, led by the Inter-Institutional Tourism Board for Reincorporation, Reconciliation, and Territorial Development, aims to promote tourism in the areas most affected by the conflict. The UN Verification Mission in Colombia is a member of the Tourism Board.
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Consultative meetings in Jordan
A two-day consultative meeting with Yemeni public and political figures, was held in Amman, Jordan, on 26 and 27 February. The meeting brought together a diverse group of Yemeni stakeholders, men and women, to discuss the prospects of resuming the official political process. Discussions included challenges against the resumption of the peace process and opportunities that could be utilized to push the process forward. “It was encouraging hearing from the participants that we share the same vision for peace in Yemen. We all agree that sustainable peace is only possible through an inclusive, comprehensive and negotiated solution. We all agree that confidence-building measures cannot survive without a political process to give them direction and meaning,” Martin Griffiths, the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, said.
Read his full remarks here
Second round of Libya talks concluded
The second round of the 5+5 Libyan Joint Military Commission (JMC) talks to reach a lasting ceasefire and to restore security to civilian areas concluded on 23 February at the Palace of Nations in Geneva. Ghassan Salamé, Special Representative and Head of UNSMIL, attended the talks The JMC is one of the three tracks which UNSMIL is working on, in addition to the economic and political tracks, in compliance with UN Security Council Resolution 2510 (2020), which calls upon the two parties to reach a lasting ceasefire agreement.
Read more on UNSMIL’s website
Peacebuilding Commission holds meetings on Guinea-Bissau and Burundi
The Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) held an Ambassadorial-level meeting on Guinea-Bissau on 24 February. Against the background of a political deadlock related to the ongoing legal dispute over the election results in the country, Configuration Chair and Permanent Representative of Brazil Ronaldo Costa Filho convened the meeting to discuss Guinea-Bissau’s post-electoral socio-economic priorities. Rosine Sori-Coulibaly, Special Representative and Head of UNIOGBIS, stressed the need to remain focused on the country’s core peacebuilding priorities, including the defense and security sector reform and the fight against drug trafficking and organized crime. Maria Antonieta Pinto Lopes D'Alva, Permanent Representative of Guinea-Bissau, expressed appreciation for PBC commitment, including through its advisory role to the Security Council.
Jürg Lauber, Chair of the Burundi PBC Configuration and Permanent Representative of Switzerland, convened an Ambassadorial-level meeting on 25 February to debrief on his visit to the Burundian capital Bujumbura, which he undertook together with Assistant Secretary-General for Africa Bintou Keita. Albert Shingiro, Permanent Representative of Burundi, discussed preparations for the elections, informing that his government covers most election-related costs. East African Community (EAC) Secretary-General, Ambassador Libérat Mfumukeko, presented EAC plans to deploy an Election Observation Mission and appealed for financial support. Barrie Freeman, Deputy and Political Director of the Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO), presented the peacebuilding activities supported by the Peacebuilding Fund (PBF), and stressed the need to maintain focus on socio-economic priorities before and after elections. Member States called for peaceful, inclusive and transparent elections and encouraged continued dialogue at local and provincial levels.
Report of the Secretary-General on the Peacebuilding Fund
The report of the Secretary-General on the Peacebuilding Fund was published this week. Highlights from the report include: The Fund approved $191 million in 34 countries, up from $183 million in 2018, continuing on a modest growth trajectory in 2019. In the past year, 22 per cent of the Fund’s investments were in transition settings, totaling $41.3 million. New cross-border investments were approved amounting to $7.8 million. The Fund approved a record amount of $40.1 million to UN entities and civil society organizations through its annual competitive call, up from $37.1 million last year. A number of Member States responded to the call for increased funding to sustain the Fund’s investments. In 2019, the Fund received $134.8 million from 25 Member States, many of whom increased the size of their contribution from previous years
Read the report here