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This Week in DPPA: 28 October - 3 November 2023

A brief roundup of political and peacebuilding events and developments around the world. 

Middle East

Special Coordinator Wennesland continues engagement with regional leaders

This week, Special Coordinator of the Secretary-General for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland continued his engagement with leaders across the region, focusing on ways to reduce the suffering and prevent further dangerous escalation, including in the West Bank.

On 1 November, in a post on X, the Special Coordinator wrote, “I welcome the opening of Rafah crossing today for some 80 sick & wounded Palestinians in #Gaza to get treatment in #Egypt, as well as, for some 500 foreign passport holders & rotation of #UN staff. An Important step in the right direction, which we need to build on.” He went on to recognize the efforts of Egypt and the United States to that end and said that the “UN remains committed to continue its intensive work w/ all parties to alleviate the suffering of the most vulnerable in #Gaza. UN remains on the ground to deliver.”

Security Council

Special Envoy Pedersen sounds alarm over “terrifying prospect” of wider escalation of Israeli-Palestinian conflict into Syria

On 30 October, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General Geir Pedersen briefed the Security Council on the situation in Syria. He underlined that since March 2020, the Syrian conflict has been in a "strategic stalemate” characterized by static front lines, persistent violence and sporadic escalations. On top of the violence emanating from the Syrian conflict itself, he warned that “the Syrian people now face a terrifying prospect of a potential wider escalation, given the alarming developments in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the region. Spillover into Syria is not just a risk; it has already begun.” Airstrikes, attributed to Israel, have hit Aleppo and Damascus airports several times during the reporting period, he said, temporarily halting the UN’s Humanitarian Air Service, which operates from those airports and services Syria’s humanitarian programmes.

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Security Council extends Colombia Verification Mission mandate

On 30 October, the Council welcomed progress made in Colombia and the Government’s outreach efforts to domestic armed groups. Unanimously adopting resolution 2704 (2023), the Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia for one year to monitor and verify implementation of a ceasefire between the Government and the National Liberation Army.

Security Council extends UNSOM mandate for one year

On 31 October, the Security Council extended for one year the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), as set out in resolutions 2158 (2014) and 2592 (2021). Unanimously adopting resolution 2705 (2023) the Council requested UNSOM to maintain and strengthen its presence across the country, in consultation with the Federal Government and Somalia’s Federal Member States. The mission should also strengthen its cooperation with the Somalia and the African Union. By the terms of the resolution, UNSOM is encouraged to coordinate United Nations efforts and support the Federal Government and Federal Member States in the acceleration of the implementation of the National Stabilization Strategy and State-Level Stabilization Plans and support peacebuilding.

“UN Security Council in Review” newsletter highlights Middle East as most frequently discussed issue in October

This week, the UN Security Council Affairs Division published “UN Security Council in Review,” its monthly newsletter covering the work of the Council this month. Under the Presidency of Brazil for the month of October, the Council held two signature events: a high-level open debate on the maintenance of international peace and security, and another on Women, Peace and Security. It held 33 formal meetings, 12 consultations, 2 Arria-formula meetings and issued two press statements. The Middle East, including the Palestinian question, was the most frequently considered country- or region-specific item in open and closed discussions. It also adopted seven resolutions, five of which were adopted unanimously. 

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General Assembly

Fourth Committee approves draft resolution on Special Political Missions

On 2 November, the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) approved a draft resolution on United Nations special political missions. By the terms of the draft “Comprehensive review of special political missions” the General Assembly would request the Secretary-General to hold a regular, inclusive and interactive dialogue on overall policy matters pertaining to special political missions. It would also encourage stronger coordination between the Security Council and General Assembly with the Peacebuilding Commission and encourage special political missions to continue fostering inclusive partnerships with regional and subregional organizations. 


Special Coordinator emphasizes urgency of safeguarding Lebanon security and stability

Special Coordinator of the Secretary-General for Lebanon Joanna Wronecka continued this week a round of meetings with Lebanese security leaders and political and diplomatic stakeholders to emphasize the urgency of safeguarding Lebanon’s security and stability from a spillover of the warfare between Israel and Hamas. In a meeting with the Commander of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), Gen. Joseph Aoun, the Special Coordinator welcomed the LAF’s efforts for safeguarding the country’s fragile security and stability in these difficult circumstances. In meetings with caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, the Special Coordinator highlighted the importance of respecting and implementing Security Council Resolution 1701 to shield Lebanon.

As Lebanon marked on 1 November one year without a President, the Special Coordinator underlined in all her meetings that electing a Head of State and ensuring the continuity of state institutions should remain a priority. 


UNAMI leadership meet with senior Iraqi officials

On 30 October, Special Representative of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert met in Baghdad with Ambassador Muhammad Hussein Muhammad Bahr al-Ulum, Undersecretary for Bilateral Relations at the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They discussed the cooperation between Iraq and the United Nations, and the developments in Iraq and the region. On 29 October, the Special Representative met Kuwaiti Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. 

On 26 October, Deputy Special Representative for Political Affairs and Electoral Assistance, Claudio Cordone met in Baghdad with the Acting Head of the International Organizations and Conferences Department, Fadel Al-Rahim, at the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They exchanged views on a number of issues of common interest, including UNAMI’s support to political dialogue and forthcoming elections as well as regional developments. 

On 30 October, Deputy Special Representative/Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator (DSRSG/RC/HC) Ghulam Isaczai had a constructive meeting with Minister of Youth and Sport Ahmed Al-Mubarqaa'. DSRSG/RC/HC Isaczai emphasized the power of youth in shaping Iraq’s future in their discussion on youth-led climate action leading up to COP28 and beyond. 

UNAMI holds workshops on education, children’s rights, and climate change

The UNAMI Human Rights Office organized a three-day workshop from 25-27 October on the "The Right to Education." In attendance were participants reflecting the diversity of Iraqi society including Christian, Yazidi, Kakai, Turkman, Shabak, Zoroastrian, Arabs, and Kurds. The workshop forms part of UNAMI’s efforts to promote equal and inclusive right to education for Iraq’s diverse societal components.

On 30 October, the UNAMI Human Rights Office organized a roundtable discussion on the rights of children of families with perceived links to ISIL, with a focus on the right to education. Participants discussed challenges, recommendations and best practices to ensure the best interest of those children. The Office also organized a workshop on climate change and its impact on human rights on the same day. Participants discussed the relationship between human rights and climate change and proposed actions to address environmental concerns in the Kurdistan Region, including how climate change can impact on peace and security. 

Central Asia

SRSG Imnadze meets with Chairperson of Turkmenistan Parliament

On 30 October, Special Representative of the Secretary General Kaha Imnadze met with Chairperson of Mejilis of Turkmenistan Dunyagozel Gulmanova. They discussed co-operation between the United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA) and Turkmenistan, with a focus on promoting the implementation of the global Women Peace and Security and Youth, Peace and Security agendas. Gulmanova expressed full support to the work of UNRCCA in building trust and promoting preventive diplomacy in Central Asia. Special Representative Imnadze stressed that UNRCCA would continue to contribute to regional stability and prosperity, based on the close cooperation developed with Turkmenistan and other Central Asian states over the past fifteen years.

UNRCCA organizes online training session on digital skills and cyber security

On 30 October, the UNRCCA Preventive Diplomacy Academy successfully conducted an online session on digital skills and cybersecurity for students from Central Asia and Afghanistan. The seminar sought to train participants in the rules and recommendations for protecting their data, devices and networks from cyber-attacks. The online session was seen as an essential step in developing digital literacy among participants and promoting preventive diplomacy and peacebuilding through the use of digital technologies.

Great Lakes region

Office for Special Envoy of the Great Lakes Region holds retreat on PSC Framework

From 31 October to 1 November, the Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes region, in collaboration with the African Union (AU), organized a regional retreat to assess the impact of the Peace, Security and Cooperation (PSC) Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Great Lakes region. The retreat was facilitated by the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) and took place in Durban, South Africa. The 80 participants at the retreat included representatives of the 13 signatory countries of the PSC Framework, representatives of the Guarantor institutions, and representatives from regional civil society organizations, including women networks and youth forums.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

A year of sports promoting youth inclusion

This week marked the finale of the #FusionFiesta Festival held over the year in seven cities across Bosnia and Herzegovina. The festival promoted social inclusion, dialogue, and understanding between different communities through sports. The festival also included soccer, volleyball, athletics and obstacle races. The events are organized with Special Olympics Bosnia and Herzegovina, through the regional Youth 4 Inclusion, Equality, and Trust project supported by the Peacebuilding Fund.

Next Week

On 6 November (Monday), the Security Council will discuss the situation in Sudan/South Sudan. Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Horn of Africa Hanna Tetteh is expected to brief.

The Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission Central African Republic Configuration Chair, Omar Hilale’s, will visit the Central African Republic from 7-11 November.

On 7 November (Tuesday), DPPA is co-organizing an event with OHCHR on the launch of the joint practice note on “Enhancing the Quality and Effectiveness of Mediation Efforts through Human Rights”. The event will take place at the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Korea. If you are interested in attending, please register using the link here.