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This Week in DPPA: 25 November - 1 December 2023

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

Special Coordinator on the Middle East Peace Process briefs Council

Prior to the resumption of fighting on 1 December, the Council held a ministerial-level meeting on the Israel-Gaza war on 29 November, which coincided with the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland emphasized that a political and security framework was needed to end the fighting between Israel and Hamas. He also welcomed the agreement to secure the release of Israeli hostages, to pause the fighting and to release Palestinian prisoners, stressing that “such respite from the weeks of horror is long overdue”. 

In Council briefing on Syria, Deputy Special Envoy stresses need for de-escalation 

On 28 November, Deputy Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria, briefing the Council on the situation in Syria, said de-escalation was urgently needed, as regional developments continued to be felt inside Syria. She cautioned that “[j]ust one miscalculation — one stray artillery shell or misjudged airstrike — could ignite a dozen different powder kegs that lie within Syrian borders.” The Envoy also detailed Israeli airstrikes in Syria, rocket fire over the Syrian Golan towards Israel, attacks on United States forces and subsequent retaliation, as well as ongoing clashes between pro-Government and opposition entities, strikes by Türkiye and continued attacks by Da’esh.

Security Council terminates UNITAMS mandate

On 1 December, the Security Council terminated the mandate of the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) as of 3 December, following a request from the Sudanese authorities. In a post on X (formerly Twitter), Under-Secretary-General Rosemary DiCarlo said: “The Security Council just voted to close down UNITAMS, but the UN is not abandoning the Sudanese people. We urge full support for the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy, Ramtane Lamamra, to bolster efforts to bring the devastating conflict to an end.”

Secretary-General and AU Chairperson sign Joint Framework for Peace, Security, Development, and Human Rights in Africa 

On 28 November, the Secretary-General chaired the United Nations-African Union Annual Conference with the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, to discuss cooperation on peace and security, development and human rights. Following the meeting, they signed an AU-UN Joint Framework, underlining shared commitment to the promotion and promotion of human hights in Africa. At a joint press conference, the Secretary-General stressed that the United Nations is committed to work with the African Union in all areas of common activity. 

First civil society-UN dialogue on peacebuilding held at UN Headquarters

This week, over 70 peacebuilders from around the world attended the first civil society-UN Dialogue on Peacebuilding at UN Headquarters. Organized by DPPA’s Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO) and Interpeace, the two-day event offered a platform for discussions between policymakers and practitioners. Participants noted that such opportunities are crucial for determining how to collaborate in support of peacebuilding work. The annual CSO-UN Dialogue will enable networking and connections among a diverse range of CSOs from the global, national, and local levels, and in particular from the Global South. The Dialogue will act as a sounding board around strategy and policy on peacebuilding, allowing civil society actors to influence global peacebuilding goals and objectives. 

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DPPA offices brief Group of Friends on Climate and Security 

DPPA’s Policy and Mediation Division and PBSO separately briefed a meeting of the Group of Friends on Climate and Security at the level of Permanent Representatives on 27 November. As chair of the Climate Security Mechanism (CSM) for November and December, DPPA provided an update on the work of the joint initiative established in 2018 between DPPA, Department of Peace Operations, UN Development Programme and UN Environment Programme. The CSM Joint Programme works to catalyze climate-informed approaches to peace and security, advance peace positive climate actions, and forge partnerships at all levels to exchange information and build the evidence base. 

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13th Annual Meeting of Deputy Foreign Ministers of Central Asia held in Bishkek

The thirteenth annual Meeting of Deputy Foreign Ministers of the Central Asian states, convened by the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA), took place in Bishkek on 27-28 November. The meeting provided an opportunity to exchange views on challenges in Central Asia and ways to address them, such as climate change, trans-boundary water management, preventing violent extremism and countering terrorism, as well as risks related to the situation in Afghanistan. Participants explored ways on how the UN Regional Centre could further support preventive diplomacy efforts, including through the increased role of women and youth in decision making.  

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Central Africa: A regional conference on non-constitutional changes in the course of 2024

The Member States of the UN Permanent Advisory Committee on Security Issues in Central Africa (UNSAC) met in Kigali from 20 to 24 November. The member states decided to organize a regional conference on unconstitutional changes of government in 2024, with the support of the UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA). The regional conference will include representatives of the civil society, researchers and other stakeholders with expertise from Central Africa and elsewhere who can contribute to the search for ways and means to effectively deal with non-constitutional changes.

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Special Envoy meets with senior officials on situation in Yemen

This week, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen Hans Grundberg met with senior Omani officials and with Mohamed Abdel Salam, Ansar Allah’s Chief Negotiator, in Muscat. They discussed opportunities to foster cooperation between Yemeni stakeholders to address the current economic issues, to establish a sustainable nationwide ceasefire, and resume an inclusive political process under the auspices of the United Nations. Grundberg then traveled to Saudi Arabia, where he met with the Minister for Defence, Prince Khalid Bin Salman and discussed progress towards an agreement between the parties to the conflict in Yemen, improving the living conditions of Yemenis, reaching a sustainable nationwide ceasefire, and resuming an inclusive, Yemeni-Yemeni political process under the auspices of the United Nations.  

Special Coordinator Wronecka underlines importance of resolution 1701 

This week, Special Coordinator of the Secretary-General for Lebanon Joanna Wronecka held a round of meetings with Lebanese officials on her briefing to the UN Security Council on the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1701. In meetings with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati, Wronecka underlined the importance of adhering to the Resolution to shield Lebanon from war at a time of regional turbulence and uncertainty. On 29 November, in a meeting with Lebanese Army Commander Gen. Joseph Aoun, the Special Coordinator underscored the vital role of the Lebanese Armed Forces and LAF cooperation with UNIFIL in south Lebanon. Wronecka also met the Ambassador of Qatar, Sheikh Said bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, to discuss regional and international efforts to support Lebanon. 

Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support visits Colombia, exploring opportunities for sustainable peace and development initiatives

This week, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support Elizabeth Spehar visited Colombia to meet with key national counterparts and international partners. The visit took place in the context of Colombia’s July 2023 renewal of eligibility to the Secretary-General’s Peacebuilding Fund. It identified opportunities for further UN engagement, including on the implementation of the 2016 Final Peace Agreement and the Government’s Total Peace Strategy, human rights and transitional justice, and strengthening the role of civil society in building sustainable peace.

Former combatants and victims sow reconciliation in Bogotá

On 25 November, former combatants’ members of La Asociación de Construcción Colectiva Unidad y Transformación (ASOCUNT) organized a commemorative event for the seventh anniversary of signing the 2016 Peace Agreement in their productive project Granja Tibares, which settles agricultural produce and promotes reconciliation activities with victims. As a symbol of sowing peace and reconciliation, the Association handed the participants, including victims and public officials, a set of their products and shared a theatrical play. The Granja Tibares is part of the restorative process in Bogotá, supported by the Mayor’s Office and other partners.

Youth delegation from North Macedonia explores youth engagement strategies in Albania

On 20-23 November, an ethnically mixed delegation from North Macedonia composed of 10 youth officers and members of local youth councils in the municipalities of Bitola, Ohrid and Gostivar, undertook a study visit to Albania. The trip enabled participants to learn about successful approaches to youth engagement in decision-making processes at the local level. During the visit, the delegation held discussions with the Albanian Minister of Youth and Children and held meetings in the Albanian municipalities of Lezha, Kruja, Elbasan, Berat, and Prrenjas. The study visit was supported by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the UN Development Programme in North Macedonia and Albania within the frameworks of the “Youth 4 Equality, Inclusion & Trust” project financed by the Peacebuilding Fund.

16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence

UNOAU supports the African Union advocacy walk

On 24 November, UN Office to the African Union (UNOAU) co-organized and participated in an advocacy walk to launch the 16 Days of Activism campaign, under the theme, "From Commitment to Action: A Call for Accelerated Action against Gender-Based Violence against Women and Girls in Africa." The walk drew attention to the issue of violence against women and girls. AU Commission and UN staff, diplomats and representatives of civil society organizations participated in the walk.

UNAMI Human Rights Office holds round table on preventing online violence against women and girls

On 27 November, the UNAMI Human Rights Office organized a roundtable discussion as part of the activities of the 16 Days of Activism. The event addressed online violence against women and girls. Participants included representatives of Mosul local government, the judiciary, lawyers, NGOs, and the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights. They engaged in a comprehensive dialogue, addressing prevalent challenges, suggested insightful recommendations, and shared best practices to ensure the protection of those at risk of online violence. 


UNAMI Human Rights Office holds workshops on countering hate speech and domestic violence

On 27 November, in collaboration with Tech4Peace, UNAMI’s Human Rights Office organized a workshop in Kut city of Wasit Governorate. Entitled, “Fact-Checking for the Protection of Freedom of Expression and Countering Hate Speech”, the meeting was aimed at participants from civil society organizations, the Iraqi Bar Association (Kut) and local journalists. Also on 27 November, the UNAMI Human Rights Office organized a second training for the staff members of the Ministry of Interior’s Family Protection Units (FPU) from Kirkuk on working with survivors of domestic violence. The training was part of UNAMI’s efforts to provide support to its partners through capacity-building activities. Six FPU investigators and assistants benefitted from this training which included discussions on recommendations and best practices on interviewing victims who had been subjected to traumatic experiences. 

UNAMI launches video on Mosul’s art revival 

This week, the UNAMI Strategic Communications and Public Information Office and the Bytna for Culture based in Mosul launched a video, which tells two stories from Mosul’s old city, which was rebuilt from the devastation of conflict. The video shows Haneen and Ahmed, two residents who chose art to illustrate the city’s revival. 

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Next Week

On 7 December, the Council will hold an open debate on threats to international peace and security: Transnational organized crime, growing challenges, new threats.

On 8 December, DPPA’s Peacebuilding Support Office, in collaboration with the Permanent Missions of Canada, Costa Rica, Germany and South Sudan to the United Nations, is launching the Peacebuilding Impact Hub, a one-stop resource for the UN system and the broader peacebuilding community for collective growth and impact.