Guterres: “I count on the African Union to help lead the way”
Secretary-General António Guterres on 4 December addressed the Security Council meeting on
cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union. “With the support of UN special political missions and peacekeeping operations, our partnership has also yielded significant results at the country level,” the Secretary-General said, referring to the ceasefire agreement in Libya, among others. “We need a renewed multilateralism. As we mark the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, we have embarked on a deep reflection on how we can best advance our common agenda. I count on the African Union to help lead the way,” Mr. Guterres concluded.
Read his full remarks here
UN Envoy discusses the situation in Tigray with Deputy Prime Minister
Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, on 1 December met with Demeke Mekonnen, Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, to discuss the situation in the Tigray region. The Special Envoy stressed the need to continue to ensure the protection of civilians, uphold human rights and access to enable the urgent delivery of humanitarian assistance in all affected areas.
Somali Government and international partners meet to improve security and rule of law
The importance of improving security and the rule of law for the long-term future of Somalia was the focus of a high-level meeting on 1 December, which brought together top officials from the country’s Federal Government and Federal Member States (FMSs), the United Nations, the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and other international partners. In his remarks to the event, delivered via videoconference, James Swan, Special Representative and Head of UNSOM, highlighted the need for strong coordination and support among all involved.
Read more here
Assistant Secretary-General visits Bolivia
Miroslav Jenča, Assistant Secretary-General for Europe, Central Asia and the Americas, visited Bolivia this week. The objective of the visit was to reaffirm the UN’s commitment to support national efforts to consolidate peace and overcome deep divisions in the country through dialogue. His visit concluded with the signing of a “Document of Commitment on the Second Phase of the UN Initiative for the Consolidation of Peace” with the Plurinational State of Bolivia.
Read the Note to Correspondents here
Actions for the prevention of violence against women
Within the framework of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, and to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Security Council resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, the UN Verification Mission in Colombia participated in several events in different regions of the country to promote gender equality and the prevention of violence against women. In the departments of Cauca, Guaviare, Norte de Santander, Valle del Cauca, and Tolima, former combatants, community leaders, security forces, local authorities, and the international community held workshops, round tables, and walks to promote the elimination of gender-based violence. Women leaders and women's organizations from Chocó and Antioquia departments received recognition at the Women, Peace and Security Urabá – Darién Awards, held by the UN Verification Mission in Colombia on 3 December. Karla Samoya, Deputy Head of the UN Verification Mission, highlighted that this event seeks to recognize the work and trajectory of women's initiatives on issues of peace and reconciliation, violence prevention, and economic empowerment in this region of Colombia where former combatants live their reintegration process.
Meetings to discuss national development
Irena Vojáčková-Sollorano, Deputy Special Representative and Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, on 29 November, met with the Minister of Planning, Dr. Khalid Battal al-Najm. They discussed their continued good cooperation and areas of future engagements, such as the implementation of the National Development Plan. On 30 November, Ms. Vojáčková-Sollorano, together with Paolo Fontani, UNESCO Director for Iraq, met with the Minister of Water Resources, Engineer Mahdi Rasheed al-Hamadani. They discussed Iraq’s Water Resource Strategy and potential future engagements with the UN.
Looking ahead – Women and youth at the forefront of peace and security efforts in Northeast Asia
Despite the challenges created by the pandemic, DPPA continues to actively engage with the regional Women, Peace and Security (WPS) network of policymakers, academics and civil society from Northeast Asia. On 11 November, DPPA, in partnership with UN Women and Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) hosted a virtual event, “Looking Ahead: Women, Peace and Security Agenda in Northeast Asia”, creating a safe space for participants to exchange experiences and lessons learnt during this milestone year. Participants echoed the need to change the social paradigm – not just laws – to make a tangible contribution to women’s empowerment at all levels. Participants also emphasized the importance of mentoring and dialoguing with female young leaders to build a strong forward-looking foundation for generational change on the WPS agenda. Building on the WPS and Youth, Peace and Security nexus, DPPA, in partnership with the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs (ODA), in December convened a group of young Northeast Asian leaders, including seven women, for online discussions on disarmament and non-proliferation, gender and new technologies and cyber-security issues. On 2 December, in the spirit of building bridges between youth and policy makers, a representative of this group spoke at a special youth session convened on the sidelines of the annual Republic of Korea-United Nations Joint Conference on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Issues.
Meeting with the Women’s Advisory Board
Syria Envoy Geir Pedersen on 2 December met with the Women’s Advisory Board, a group of twelve independent Syrian civil society representatives consulted regularly by the Special Envoy's Office whenever the Syria talks are in session, to hear their insights on all aspects of the political process. Syrian women are playing a central role in the political processes mandated by Security Council resolution 2254, and make up nearly 30% of the Constitutional Committee.
Meeting of the Constitutional Committee concludes in Geneva
Special Envoy Pedersen on 4 December held a press conference in Geneva, Switzerland, following the conclusion of the fourth session of the drafting body of the Constitutional Committee. Mr. Pedersen noted that there are still many differences between the parties, but that people now listen attentively to each other.
Meeting with civil society representatives from Taiz
Representatives of civil society from Taiz met virtually on 3 December with Special Envoy Martin Griffiths to gather their views on a solution for Taiz in line with the Stockholm Agreement and solicit ideas on how to improve the current situation. “The human cost of the war in Taiz is unacceptable. We will continue our efforts to bring about a political solution that will eventually silence the guns and benefit all Yemenis, including the people in Taiz,” Mr. Griffiths said.
Read more here
Peacebuilding Commission meeting on Somalia
The Peacebuilding Commission held its first meeting on Somalia since 2015, convened by its Chair Bob Rae, with briefings by Mohamed Hussein Roble, Prime Minister of the Federal Republic of Somalia, Hanifa Mohamed Ibrahim, Minister of Women and Human Rights Development of the Federal Republic of Somalia, James Swan, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, Rowda A. Olad, mental health and peacebuilding practitioner and Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support. The Commission recognized important strides in the country’s peacebuilding process since the last meeting, while also acknowledging challenges posed by persistent conflict, recurring humanitarian shocks, large-scale displacement, sexual and gender-based violence, and widespread mental health problems. The Commission recognized the strategic role of the Secretary-General’s Peacebuilding Fund, which invested $52.3 million since 2015 mainly in support of women peacebuilders and welcomed the Secretary-General’s approval in July 2020 of a new five-year eligibility period focusing on reconciliation, justice and rule of law, security, and governance. Recording available here
Interview with the Founder and Executive Director of ACCORD
In “Building Peace during the Pandemic” this week, Vasu Gounden, the Founder and Executive Director of the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) spoke with Marc-André Franche, Chief, Financing for Peacebuilding, Peacebuilding Support Office, about the wide-ranging trends of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa. In April 2020, ACCORD launched an online COVID-19 Conflict and Resilience Monitor to track the impact of the pandemic on the continent. Mr. Gounden stressed the need to strengthen and support local institutions to manage conflicts internally. He also underscored the impact of the pandemic on peacebuilding efforts in Africa and ACCORD’s focus on highlighting young people’s responses to peace and security challenges and ensuring that young peacebuilders are adequately equipped to mitigate potential risks posed by conflict.
Watch the interview here
The Security Council will be briefed on the situation in Sudan and the work of the new UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) on 8 December. On 9 December, François Louncény Fall, Special Representative and Head of UNOCA, will update the Council on the situation in Central Africa.
Updated programme here
The Work of Peace
Remember to check out our virtual exhibit: The Work of Peace. It highlights the UN’s key role in preventive diplomacy, good offices, mediation and elections over the past 75 years, and looks ahead at what the future may hold for this work.