Secretary-General, Myanmar Envoy condemn military takeover
The Secretary-General and his Special Envoy, Christine Schraner Burgener, condemned this week’s military takeover in Myanmar. In a statement on 31 January, the Secretary-General expressed grave concern regarding the declaration of the transfer of all legislative, executive and judicial powers to the military. He called for the release of Aung Saan Suu Kyi and other leaders and said: “These developments represent a serious blow to democratic reforms in Myanmar.” The Special Envoy on 2 February briefed the Security Council in closed session on the developments in the country, urging Council members to “collectively send a clear signal in support of democracy in Myanmar.” “It is all too regretful that the hope of continued progress marked by the 8 November elections, including strengthened United Nations-Myanmar cooperation, has been jeopardized,” she said.
Secretary-General: Palestinian President’s call for international peace conference provides an opportunity for peace
Secretary-General António Guterres presided over the election of the Bureau of the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People on 4 February. He said that Palestinian President Abbas’s call for an international peace conference under UN auspices and an expanded Middle East Quartet provides a positive opportunity to advance peace in the region. The Committee re-elected the Bureau’s incumbent members (Chair: Senegal and Vice-Chairs: Afghanistan, Cuba, Indonesia, Namibia and Nicaragua) and adopted its Programme of Work for 2021. Besides Bureau members, Egypt, Guyana, India, Lebanon, Malaysia, South Africa and Sri Lanka made statements on the occasion.
New report on torture in Afghan prisons
Almost a third of people detained for security or terrorism-related offences in Afghanistan claim to have been subjected to torture or other forms of ill-treatment, a new UNAMA/UNHCHR report launched on 3 February says. ”Torture can never be justified. Perpetrators must be held accountable. This would increase confidence in the rule of law and can be a contributing factor towards peace,” Special Representative Deborah Lyons said in conjunction with the report launch.
Read more here
Seminar on the impact of the pandemic on Iraqi women
Deputy Special Representative Alice Walpole on 1 February attended a seminar organized by the National Security Adviser and the University of Baghdad on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Iraqi women. Ms. Walpole reported on the efforts of the UN in Iraq to mitigate the effect of the virus on women. She concluded with a request to all that “as we work together to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on women in Iraq, let’s also use the opportunity to work together to reduce gender inequalities for Iraqi women not just in this time of pandemic but in the longer term, too.”
Read her full remarks here
Williams: “The Libyan people are behind you”
Acting Special Representative Stephanie Williams on 1 February told the opening of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) in Switzerland that ”[t]he Libyan people are behind you, they support you, they want you to succeed. They need you to succeed. Don’t let them down.” On 5 February, LPDF participants voted on the four lists of candidates for the three-member Presidency Council and Prime Minister positions, which were submitted on 4 February and met the required endorsements stipulated in the selection mechanism.
Read more here
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Special Representative continues visits to Federal Member States
James Swan, Special Representative and Head of UNSOM, visited Jubaland and Somaliland this week. In the Somaliland capitol of Hargeisa, Mr. Swan discussed the forthcoming parliamentary and local elections with President Muse Bihi. “All of Somaliland’s partners look forward to these elections,” Mr. Swan said. “We look forward to the National Electoral Commission’s work facilitating successful elections at the end of May.” The Special Representative also visited the headquarters of Somaliland’s National Electoral Commission (NEC), where he had discussions with some of its commissioners.
New Special Representative arrives in Khartoum
The new Special Representative and Head of UNITAMS, Volker Perthes, arrived in Khartoum on 2 February. He was received by Ambassador Omer El Sheikh, Head of the National Executive Committee for Coordination with UNITAMS, representing the Sudanese government. “I am looking forward to working with the transitional authorities and the great people of Sudan,” he said. “UNITAMS has been established, and I will devote my energy on supporting Sudan achieve its goals of democratic transformation, peace, and economic recovery.”
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Cooperative in the Catatumbo region promotes economic reactivation
A cooperative of 20 people, including social leaders, community members and signatories of the peace agreement received on 1 February inputs and technical advice to undertake a new project to provide an alternative amid the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In Teorama municipality, Norte de Santander, northwestern Colombia, the entrepreneurs started a poultry farm. The Verification Mission is accompanying this process in coordination with the Agency for Reincorporation and Normalization.
New handbook on Youth, Peace and Security
“Youth, Peace and Security: A Programming Handbook” was officially published this week. The Handbook, developed by the Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO), UNFPA and UNDP, with the support of the Folke Bernadotte Academy, in consultation with UN and civil society partners, seeks to contribute to the operational readiness and capacity of United Nations practitioners to implement the youth, peace and security (YPS) agenda. The handbook is intended to be used by country, regional and global teams in the United Nations system, but it can also provide insights and guidance to field practitioners beyond the United Nations, including other international or regional organizations, national counterparts, youth-led and youth-focused organizations, movements and networks, and peacebuilding organizations. It provides step-by-step guidance for youth-sensitive and youth-inclusive peace and security programming, through the programmatic cycle: conflict analysis, theories of change, outcomes and indicators, monitoring and evaluation. It also provides a detailed list of programmatic entry points under the five pillars, with concrete examples.
Read more here
Peacebuilding Commission elects new Chair and Vice-Chairs
The Peacebuilding Commission on 3 February elected Egypt, Mohamed Fathi Ahmed Edrees, as its Chair for 2021 and Canada and Slovakia as Vice-Chairs. Brazil, Morocco, Sweden and Switzerland were re-elected Configuration Chairs for Guinea-Bissau, Central African Republic, Liberia and Burundi, respectively. The new Chair also highlighted the need for stronger UN partnerships with regional and sub-regional organizations as well as International Financial Institutions. He committed to supporting the Secretary-General’s efforts in ensuring adequate, predictable and sustained financing for peacebuilding, particularly in view of the new PBC mandate to advise the General Assembly ahead of the high-level meeting on financing for peacebuilding scheduled for the 76th session.
Watch a recording of the meeting here
Security Council Security Council
Syria Envoy Geir O. Pedersen will brief the UN Security Council on the situation in the country and the work of the Syrian Constitutional Committee on 9 February. On 11 February, there will be a briefing on a letter form the Russian Federation regarding the situation in Ukraine (S/2014/264).
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.