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This Week in DPPA: 28 March - 3 April 2020


28 March - 3 April 2020

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


Colombia: Let’s focus on the true fight of our lives 
The Special Representative and Head of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia, Carlos Ruiz Massieu, issues a statement on COVID-19 in the country on 28 March. “It is time to deepen dialogue and reconciliation at all levels and to lend a helping hand to the most vulnerable communities,” the Special Representative stated. He also echoed Secretary-General António Guterres’ call to "put armed conflict in lockdown and focus together on the true fight of our lives."  
Colombia's ELN guerrillas have declared "an active unilateral ceasefire for a month, from 1 to 30 April in a humanitarian gesture of the ELN with the Colombian people, who are suffering from devastation because of the coronavirus."  
As of 2 April, the Colombian Ministry of Health had confirmed 1.161 cases of COVID-19 across the country, 19 deaths and 55 recovered. 
Read the full statement here 

Somalia: We must all unite to prevent the spread of the virus   
The UN system in Somalia issued a joint statement on COVID-19 on 31 March. The UN family in Somalia stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the people of Somalia during this testing time. We will continue to support all efforts to address the immediate health and long-term socio-economic impact of COVID-19,” said James Swan, the Special Representative for Somalia and Head of UNSOM. “We must all unite to prevent the spread of the virus. We need to pay particular attention to the most vulnerable in our communities, including internally displaced people, the infirm and the elderly.” 
Read the full statement here 
Read more in UN News 

Great Lakes: United and determined, we will defeat COVID-19   
Huang Xia, Special Envoy for the Great Lakes, issued a statement on the corona virus this week, where he encouraged the Governments of the region to continue to coordinate their efforts as much as possible to meet the challenges posed by the pandemic, building on the vast experience accumulated in the continent, notably in the fight against diseases such as Ebola. “United and determined, we will defeat the COVID-19,” the Special Envoy said.  
Read the full statement here 

Geneva International Discussions: Protect vulnerable conflict-affected populations 
The Co-Chairs of the Geneva International Discussions (GID) issued a statement on 31 March saying that they are fully engaged to help address the challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic. The Geneva process brings together representatives of the participants of the conflict between Georgia and Russia, and Georgia’s breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The Co-chairs urge GID participants to do their utmost to protect vulnerable conflict-affected populations, especially women, men and children in areas especially isolated. 
Read the full statement here 
Yemen: Joint efforts need to counter the threat of COVID-19 
The Office of the Special Envoy for Yemen is engaging with the parties of the conflict to reach an agreement for a nationwide ceasefire, with the goal to foster joint efforts to counter the threat of COVID-19. Special Envoy Martin Griffiths remains is conducting bilateral consultations with parties and hopes to convey virtual meetings between them as soon as possible. “‘I hope that these consultations can be soon completed and deliver what Yemenis expect, demand and deserve,” the Special Envoy stressed in a statement on 2 April.   
Read the full statement here 

For up-to-date information on COVID-19 and its impact, please visit: 
WHO website  
UN coronavirus website 


Security Council

Council adopts four resolutions amidst pandemic
Taking innovative steps in the face of unprecedented circumstances, the Security Council this week considered, through its new video teleconferencing (VTC) platform, the situations in Syria and the Middle East (including Palestine), and Afghanistan. The Council also tackled the daunting challenge of voting during the COVID-19 pandemic, implementing a temporary written procedure and adopting four draft resolutions, thus ensuring the continuity of operations of UNSOM, UNAMID and the Panel of Experts on the DPRK.  Also adopted was a resolution on safety and security of peacekeeping operations.  Seeking to increase the transparency of the Council’s novel work arrangements, the informal plan of VTCs for the Dominican Republic’s Presidency in April was posted on the Council`s website. Records of the discussions will be issued as official documents, and live broadcasts of portions of these meetings are set to begin next week.





Pedersen: COVID-19 “an enormous threat to Syrians” 
Special Envoy Geir O. Pedersen on 30 updated the Security Council via video link on the situation in Syria.  “For many Syrians, now in their tenth year of a conflict that still defies comprehension in the scale of suffering, brutality, and devastation, it may seem hard, even slightly abstract, to focus on a global virus pandemic. But make no mistake: COVID-19 is an enormous threat to Syrians, and it demands a complete shift in mind-set from all, now. This common threat must now focus all with new consciousness and new determination on a common agenda to save the Syrian people from a new calamity,” Mr. Pedersen said.     
Read the full statement here 
Read more in UN News  


Mladenov: “The situation on the ground remains fragile” 
Special Coordinator Nickolay Mladenov on 30 March briefed the Council via video link on the implementation of Resolution 2334 (2016), concerning Israeli settlements in "Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem. “As the region continues to confront the enormity of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the broader geopolitical tensions, the situation on the ground remains fragile. Credible negotiations have yet to be launched that will end the occupation and realize a negotiated two-State solution. In the absence of a renewed commitment of the parties to pursue concrete measures that will lead to genuine political progress, the situation I’m afraid will continue to deteriorate,” the Special Coordinator said.  
Read the full statement here 

Hayden: “Afghanistan appears to be reaching a defining moment” 
Ingrid Hayden, Deputy Special Representative and Officer-in-charge at UNAMA, updated the Council on the situation in Afghanistan on 31 March.  “Afghanistan appears to be reaching a defining moment. Almost two decades after the start of the coalition intervention, the question for the Islamic Republic now is: can its leaders rally together to engage in meaningful talks with the Taliban to achieve a sustainable peace? The choice is made stark by the all-encompassing threat of COVID-19, which poses grave dangers to the health of Afghanistan’s population and, potentially, to the stability of its institutions,” Ms. Hayden said to the Council on video link from Kabul.  
Read the full statement here 
Read more in UN News  

Please see the Security Council website for an updated program of work.  


Meeting with Yemeni women’s Technical Advisory Group  
Special Envoy Martin Griffiths had a video conference with the Yemeni women’s Technical Advisory Group (TAG) on 31 March. The TAG members and Mr. Griffiths discussed a number of economic and humanitarian measures that would alleviate the suffering of Yemeni people, build confidence between the parties, and enhance Yemen’s capacity to respond to the threat of a COVID-19 outbreak, including the release of all conflict-related prisoners and detainees. Mr. Griffiths thanked the TAG members and all Yemeni women’s groups and networks for their support to the peace process and their vital advocacy to end the war. 
Read more here 


UN Mission participates in Senate virtual session on killings of ex-combatants and social leaders’ 
In the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, the Colombian Senate called for a virtual session on 2 April to discuss the worrying security situation of social leaders and former FARC combatants. Special Representative Carlos Ruiz-Massieu was called to participate and share the Mission's main concerns on this issue. "It is very important to strengthen the mechanisms established in the Peace Agreement that guarantee the protection and security of leaders, communities, and ex-combatants and that can fulfill their mandates to see an impact on the reduction of violence," said Ruiz-Massieu. Participants also included Interior Minister Alicia Arango, Justice Minister Margarita Cabello, Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo, Presidential Adviser on Stabilisation and Consolidation Emilio Archila, and Peace Commissioner Miguel Ceballos. 
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