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This Week in DPPA: 25 September - 1 October 2021

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

Security Council

Pedersen: "We need to find a genuine intra-Syrian political dialogue and a genuine process of Syrian political reform”

Geir Pedersen, Special Envoy for Syria, briefing the Security Council on 28 September, reported that an agreement on “methodology” is in place for a sixth session of the Constitutional Committee. He said that the Small Drafting Body will convene in Geneva as of 18 October, and the Co-Chairs will meet for the first time the day before to prepare the session. He also noted that the time to push for a political process is now, given that military front lines have been largely frozen for 18 months. Trust is clearly low, but common interests do exist, he said.

Full briefing to the Security Council here

Women’s participation and representation in political life is a precondition for lasting peace in Somalia, Deputy Secretary-General says

Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General, briefed the Council on 28 September on her recent visit to Somalia to promote women’s participation in elections. Despite promises and stipulations in electoral agreements, she noted that there is real concern that the levels of women’s representation will decrease in the current elections to the House of the People. She emphasized that the 30 per cent quota is a crucial first step towards the equal representation of women in all sectors of life. “Somalis cannot move their country forward and build trust in institutions and elections without women’s equal participation. Inclusive elections will lay the foundations for a resilient, sustainable, inclusive country”, she added.

Full briefing to the Security Council here

Many Israelis and Palestinians remain committed to achieving two-State solution, Council hears

Tor Wennesland, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, briefing the Council on the most recent developments on the ground, said “we must re-energize efforts now to establish a legitimate political horizon that will end the occupation”. He said he felt encouraged that many Israelis and Palestinians remained committed to achieving a two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace despite the significant challenges. He urged the international community to support the civil society organizations that continue to work tirelessly to build trust and advance the prospects for peace.

Full briefing to the Security Council here


UNAMA continues to call for unity to support human rights

Deborah Lyons, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), met on 26 September with former President Hamid Karzai. She stressed the UN is working hard to get humanitarian aid to Afghan people in need and highlighted that an inclusive government that can work with the region and wider world would much improve development prospects. On 27 September, Deputy Special Representative Matte Knudsen spoke at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, calling for unity to support human rights, inclusive governance and economic development as well as provision of urgent humanitarian aid for millions of Afghans. 

Central Asia

Online training on preventive diplomacy for youth

The United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA) completed on 30 September its fourth online training session for youth from Central Asia and Afghanistan in September. Speakers from the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) and UNRCCA shared their expertise and helped the participants understand the work of UNOCT and the implementation of its STRIVE Asia Project and regional work in the field of cyberspace counter-terrorism.

Read more here


Special Coordinator discusses 2022 elections

Special Coordinator for Lebanon Joanna Wronecka met on 29 September with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri to discuss the opportunities for Lebanon to engage in real reforms following the formation of the government and Parliament’s legislative role. She stressed the importance of holding the 2022 elections on time. On 30 September, she also met with civil society representatives to discuss the elections preparations and the importance of making it an inclusive process, including for persons with disabilities, young voters, women and Lebanese abroad. 


Special Envoy meets Yemeni youth

Hans Grundberg, Special Envoy for Yemen, exchanged views with Yemeni youth on 29 September at an event organized by the Delegation of the European Union to Yemen. He stressed that the future of any country lies with the youth and that it is paramount to involve the new generation in building a sustainable peace. “Yemeni youth must be at the forefront in breaking the cycles of violence, polarization and violations of freedoms”, he added. 


UNAMI Deputy Head discusses elections with Ninewa civil society


Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Political Affairs and Electoral Assistance of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), visited on 29 September the Ninewa office of Iraq's Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) to learn more about its preparation for the upcoming elections. IHEC Head Farhan Ali and his staff explained the status of biometric voter cards, accessibility to polling centres by internally displaced persons (IDP), minority inclusion and voters’ movements on Election Day. In Mosul, she met with Ninewa civil society groups who shared concerns about vote buying, voter intimidation and IDP voting. She assured them that UNAMI would continue to encourage Iraqi authorities to address such issues and help IHEC to ensure that Election Day will run smoothly. On the same day, UNAMI’s Human Rights Office together with the Office of Electoral Assistance organized an online session for the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights. 16 participants (6 women) joined the discussion on best practices of human rights as well as Election Day monitoring.

Learn more about UNAMI’s assistance here 



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Special Representative travels to Puntland to discuss upcoming local and federal elections

James Swan, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), visited Puntland on 26 September to meet with the leaders of Somalia’s Federal Member States. Speaking on behalf of the visiting international partners that accompanied him after the meeting with President Said Abdullahi Deni and members of his cabinet, Special Representative Swan said he is heartened to learn about the progress made so far, particularly that the work of the Transitional Puntland Electoral Commission (TPEC) is advancing. “We urge all to move forward to deliver on their commitments to hold credible national elections on time and in accordance with the 27 May Agreement,” Special Representative Swan said.

Read more here

West Africa and the Sahel

Special Representative visits Guinea-Bissau

Mahamat Saleh Annadif, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), concluded on 29 September a two-day visit to Guinea-Bissau. During the visit, he met with President Umaro Sissoco Embaló, among others, to discuss ways to better support the country in its efforts to consolidate peace and sustainable development. The Special Representative called on Bissau-Guinean actors to favor the spirit of dialogue in order to strengthen national consensus.

Read more here


UN and Norway co-host High-Level Event

Secretary‑General António Guterres spoke on 30 September at a high‑level side event on Sudan which aimed to seek and reaffirm global engagement and support for the Sudanese people. He said that, despite the challenges, Sudan has reached milestones, including advances in democratic governance, peacemaking efforts and ambitious economic reforms. He noted that the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) was created last year to provide a new basis for UN support. Pointing to Sudan’s complex security challenges, including the recent attempted coup d’état, he highlighted the importance of undertaking all efforts to protect civilians, strengthen human rights and provide safety and security for all. 

Full remarks at the high-level event here

Youth, Peace and Security

Panel discussion on hate speech in conflict-affected settings

DPPA’s Policy and Mediation Division (PMD), in partnership with UNESCO, the Office of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, and the Department of Peace Operations, organized on 1 October a side event on “hate speech, youth and conflict prevention.” Participated by civil society, youth leaders and UN Peace and Development Advisors, PMD’s Director Teresa Whitfield highlighted that, in fragile and conflict-affected settings in particular, the inclusion of youth in decision-making and policy implementation is essential to address underlying drivers of conflict and promote sustainable peace. Reflecting projects developed with young people in Africa, the Western Balkans, as well as Central, Southeast and South Asia, the participants shared lessons and good practices for the work of the UN and other actors. Panelists put forward a number of recommendations that will feed into the Global Education Ministers Conference, including the need for a broader focus on educational policies that help young people develop skills to counter hate speech, the importance of finding more sustainable ways for the UN to support national efforts in this area and the critical importance of promoting youth inclusion in decision-making and public policies.

Senior Leadership

Brian James Williams re-assumes role as Chief Financing for Peacebuilding Branch

On 27 September, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support Oscar Fernandez-Taranco welcomed James Williams in his new role as Chief Financing for Peacebuilding Branch in the Peacebuilding Support Office. He had previously served in the same role from 2010 to 2015. Williams comes with 30 years of experience in international development, peacebuilding and humanitarian response. Since 1990, Williams has lived in and worked on humanitarian assistance and peacebuilding in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Cambodia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Rwanda. Before joining the United Nations, he worked with USAID, CARE International, and the International Rescue Committee. Prior to this position, he was the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Albania from 2015 to 2020.

Press Release here

Global Call for Nominations to identify Heads and Deputy Heads for United Nations Field Missions

Secretary-General Guterres on 28 September launched the third edition of the Global Call for Nominations campaign to identify Heads and Deputy Heads for United Nations Field Missions. Open until 15 November, the Global Call aims to expand the pool of candidates for the USG/ASG level positions of Special Representative of the Secretary-General and their deputies with a view to advancing gender parity and geographical diversity at the most senior leadership level in the field. The campaign is open to women and men, including UN staff members (at the D1 and above level) and external candidates. Eligible applicants need to have at least 20 years of relevant experience including 5 years at senior representational level. Profiles who meet the minimum requirements will, following an internal review process, be included in the SRSG/DSRSG pool, a source of potential candidates.

For more information

Next Week

Under Kenya’s presidency of the Security Council for the month of October, Special Representative Helen La Lime will brief the Council on Haiti on Monday, 4 October. 

As part of the UN World Data Forum, DPPA’s Innovation Cell is organizing a webinar on 5 October together with the Department of Peace Operations (DPO) on “Strengthening peace and security data analytics”. The webinar will focus on the use of data in the context of the peace and security work of the UN, including conflict prevention, peace mediation, peacekeeping and peacebuilding. The event will also mark the launch of the Peace and Security Data Hub, a joint initiative of DPPA and DPO in response to the Secretary-General's Data Strategy.

Register here