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This Week in DPPA: 23 - 29 September 2023

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

Security Council

Special Representative Otunbayeva warns of Taliban decrees aimed at “eliminating women from public life and education” in Afghanistan

On 26 September, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan, Roza Otunbayeva, briefed the Council on the situation in Afghanistan. She underscored the fact that UN engagement strategy in the country had been significantly undermined by the more than 50 decrees the Taliban have issued aimed at eliminating women from public life and education. The question, she continued, was whether to continue to engage with the de facto authorities despite these policies, or not. The view of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan was that it must continue to engage and maintain a dialogue, adding that dialogue is not recognition and engagement is not acceptance of their policies.      

Read full remarks here  

Special Envoy Pedersen briefs Council on Syria, warns of further deterioration of security, humanitarian situation

On 27 September, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria Geir Pedersen briefed the Council on the situation in Syria. He called for concrete measures to address the concerns of Syrian civilians, and for Syrian parties and international actors to consider compromise in order to relaunch a Syrian-led and -owned political process, in line with resolution 2254 (2015). “The alternative is not a grim but containable status quo,” Pedersen warned. “It is a future of deterioration across humanitarian, security and institutional fronts, with significant implications for all.”  

Read full remarks here

Special Coordinator for Middle East Peace Process briefs Council

On 27 September, Tor Wennesland, the Special Coordinator of the Secretary-General for the Middle East Peace Process, briefed the Security Council on the Secretary-General’s recent report on the Israeli-Palestinian situation. The Special Coordinator reported on the ongoing settlement activity by Israeli authorities. “In a continuing trend, many Palestinians, including children, left from their communities citing violence by settlers and shrinking grazing land,” he said. He also noted that 68 Palestinians were killed by Israeli security forces and 10 Israelis by Palestinians in attacks and other incidents during the reporting period.

Read full remarks here

Peacebuilding Commission

Ambassadorial-level meeting on elections in Liberia  

Ahead of the 10 October legislative and presidential elections, the Peacebuilding Commission met to discuss progress towards the conduct of peaceful, inclusive, transparent, free, fair, and credible elections in Liberia. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, Momolu Johnson, the Liberia National Police, the National Elections Commission (NEC), civil society, and senior UN officials participated in the event. The Commission called for full adherence to the Farmington River Declaration and respect for electoral laws, guidelines, regulations, and all institutions in support of a peaceful electoral process, as well as the full operationalization of the Violence against Women in Elections and Politics (VAWiE/P) Protocol. The Commission reiterated the importance of continued inclusive dialogue and civic education, as well as the full and meaningful inclusion of women and youth in the electoral processes, politics, and decision-making at all levels.  

Central Africa

UNSAC conducts field visit to discuss links between climate change and security 

From 25 to 29 September, the Bureau of the UN Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa (UNSAC) carried out a field visit to the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe, to identify local and national good practices to mitigate climate change. Representatives of Angola, Central African Republic, Congo, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe attended, together with the UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA). The mission assessed examples of initiatives to prevent and combat coastal erosion, marine or river flooding, deforestation, and preserve biodiversity. The recommendations from the visit will be discussed at the 56th UNSAC meeting to be held in November, in Kigali, Rwanda.


Special Coordinator Wronecka holds roundtable discussion with youth on future of Lebanon

On 26 September, Special Coordinator of the Secretary-General Joanna Wronecka hosted a roundtable discussion with a group of Lebanese youth to hear their aspirations for the future of their country. The young people shared stories of initiatives they have taken in their own communities. The Special Coordinator reiterated the important role that youth, in their diversity and unity, must play for rebuilding trust and for building back a better future for Lebanon.  

Special Coordinator meets with top officials in Bekaa and Baalbek

On 28 September, Special Coordinator Wronecka visited Bekaa and Baalbek in eastern and north-eastern Lebanon. In Baalbek, she met with Governor Bachir Khodr and Head of Municipality Moustafa al-Chall, as well as the Head of the Union of Municipalities of Baalbek, Shafik Shehadeh. The discussions focused on the political, security, social and economic situation in the area, as well as the upcoming municipal elections in 2024. The Special Coordinator also toured a water treatment station in Bekaa for which a solar system has been funded by UNHCR as part of its community support project.  

Special Coordinator visits WHO-supported public hospital in Tripoli 

On 25 September, the Special Coordinator visited Tripoli as part of UNSCOL’s efforts to support Lebanon’s overall peace, security and stability. The Special Coordinator met the Governor of north Lebanon, Ramzi Nohra, who briefed her on the political, security and socio-economic situation. She also discussed with MP Ihab Matar the main challenges facing Tripoli and the importance of moving forward with necessary reforms. During her tour, the Special Coordinator visited the WHO-supported public hospital in Tripoli and a health clinic managed by the Azm wa Saada NGO, whose health services are helping meet urgent needs.


Yemen Special Envoy meets with senior officials and diplomats on efforts to improve living conditions in the country

This week, Special Envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg held discussions in Riyadh with senior Yemeni, regional, and international officials and diplomats. He met with the Saudi Ambassador to Yemen, Mohamed Al Jaber, to discuss the progress of efforts to advance an agreement between the Yemeni parties on measures to improve living conditions in the country. Grundberg also met with the ambassadors of the five permanent members of the Security Council in Riyadh to coordinate international peace advocacy. The Special Envoy reiterated that Yemen needs the support of the region and the international community to navigate the path towards sustainable development and peace.


Special Representative Hennis-Plasschaert meets with top student on overcoming challenges in Iraq

On 26 September, Special Representative to the Secretary-General Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert met with Abdel-Malik Walid Khalil, a student from a camp of displaced Iraqis, who is currently studying medicine. The student relayed his story to the Special Representative as an example of life in modern Iraq, buoyed by nascent stability after decades of conflict.  

Government of Iraq and United Nations launch plan on supporting northeast Syria returnees

On 24 September, the Government of Iraq, the United Nations and partners launched the One-UN Plan "A New Beginning," capturing a collective vision for supporting northeast Syria returnees; prioritizing targeted programmes and activities that support durable solutions and enhance reintegration for returnees.

Workshop on Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework

On 25 September, the office of the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator (DSRSG/RC/HC) for Iraq Ghulam Isaczai launched the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework introductory workshop with the Government of Iraq. The workshop kickstarted a conversation about how the UN can best help Iraq’s development in 2025-29, linking UN expertise with Government priorities. 

UNAMI Human Rights Office holds training sessions for civil society, journalists and lawyers

On 22 and 23 September, the Human Rights Office of UNAMI organized a two-day training in Baghdad for representatives from civil society organizations, local journalists, and human rights defenders from several governorates. The training sessions covered critical skills for human rights monitoring and reporting, as well as advocacy and engagement with United Nations human rights mechanisms. Participants also discussed the challenges of protecting human rights defenders in cyber space.

On 25 September, the UNAMI Human Rights Office organized a roundtable with representatives from civil society, including human rights defenders as well as journalists and lawyers. Participants discussed concrete measures and recommendations to strengthen the promotion and protection of civic space in Mosul.


Verification Mission marks International Day of Peace with the voices of youth and music for reconciliation

On 23 and 24 September, the UN Verification Mission in Colombia brought together young leaders from the municipalities of Samaniego, Policarpa, Tumaco and Pasto to discuss truth, memory and peacebuilding in the department of Nariño. The young people exchanged views on various peace initiatives and experiences. They also participated in a workshop on non-violent communication with the support of the Tumaco Peace Radio Station. 

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Music & Peace for reconciliation 

On 23 September, in Planadas, Tolima, in the central west of Colombia, the Mission participated in "Social Meeting for Reconciliation and Peace," led by the Mayor's Office, to commemorate the International Day of Peace with cultural and musical activities.

Central Asia

UNRCCA co-organizes briefing on e-learning course on human rights and counter-terrorism

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On 27 September, the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA), together with the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) and in close partnership with the state institutions of the Republic of Uzbekistan, organized a briefing on the e-learning course on the protection and promotion of human rights and the rule of law in the context of counter-terrorism in Central Asia. More than 80 students and academia from Uzbekistan attended the briefing. Participants shared their views on the course, including reflection of the global and regional security trends, and discussed the efforts of Uzbekistan in fostering the rule of law and human rights while preventing extremism and countering terrorism.

Read more here

Next Week

Brazil will assume the presidency of the Security Council for the month of October.


Diplomacy for Peace: Commemorative Event Marking the 75th Anniversary of Special Political Missions