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This Week in DPPA: 4 - 10 December 2021

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


Under-Secretary-General DiCarlo reaffirms UN support for Afghan people

Under-Secretary-General (USG) Rosemary DiCarlo visited Afghanistan this week and reaffirmed the UN’s commitment to stay and deliver for the Afghan people. In Kabul from 7 to 9 December, Ms. DiCarlo held talks with senior Taliban representatives Mawlavi Abdul Kabir and Amir Khan Muttaqi, emphasizing the paramount importance of ensuring that all Afghans can take part in governance and public life. She also noted serious concerns about the situation of women and girls in the country. The Under-Secretary-General commended the work of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and UN staff in the country, who continue to support the Afghan people at this critical time. “The UN has been in Afghanistan since 1949 and, as demonstrated during the recent crisis, we do not intend to abandon the Afghan people,” she said.

Read more here

Security Council

Special Representative for Sudan: “This crisis is not over yet”

Volker Perthes, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), briefed the Security Council on 10 December. He said in the last six weeks, Sudan’s political transition has been undergoing its greatest crisis to date. He noted that this crisis is not over yet, but discussions on the way forward have begun. He cautiously welcomed the 21 November political agreement between Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and Lt. General Bu Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, which came following weeks of domestic and international efforts to find a way out of the crisis. He added that many feel betrayed by the coup, and now reject any negotiations or partnership with the military. On women’s participation in the political process, he reported that he and his team are in regular contact with women’s groups from across Sudan to hear their concerns. 


Special Representative discusses political situation post-elections

On 7 December, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, met with the leader of the Sadrist Movement, Sayyed Muqtada Al-Sadr, in Najaf. They discussed the current political situation in the country in light of the recently held general elections in Iraq.

Human Rights and Diversity in Iraq

Marking this year’s International Human Rights Day, the UNAMI Human Rights Office launched an art exhibit on 8 December in Baghdad celebrating Iraq’s rich linguistic, ethnic and religious diversity. Participants at the launch event had the opportunity to speak to artists and representatives of participating Iraqi components about the art and human rights issues in line with this year’s theme.  

Read more here

UNAMI discusses gender-based violence with women rights activists 

As part of the global campaign of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, UNAMI’s Human Rights Office and Iraqi Al Amal Association brought together on 7 December women rights activists to reaffirm their collective commitment to ending violence against women and girls in Iraq. In her opening remarks, Chief of the UNAMI Human Rights Office and OHCHR Representative in Iraq Danielle Bell emphasized the “urgent need for Iraqi law to protect the most vulnerable, especially at home”, noting that the current COVID-19 pandemic has vividly highlighted all the risk factors for violence against women and girls.

Read more here

Central Asia

Central Asian states reaffirm commitment to the principles of preventive diplomacy 

The eleventh annual meeting of the Deputy Foreign Ministers of the Central Asian states, convened by the United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA), took place in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, on 8 December 2021. Participants exchanged information on the latest developments and trends affecting peace and security in the region and discussed cooperation between UNRCCA and regional governments to address existing and emerging challenges. Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNRCCA Natalia Gherman underlined the continued efforts of the Central Asian countries to improve and strengthen regional interaction. High-level participants pointed to the crucial role of UNRCCA in supporting cooperation among Central Asian states and reaffirmed their commitment to the principles of preventive diplomacy.

Read more here

West Africa and the Sahel

Annual West Africa and Sahel Youth Forum

The United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), in collaboration with the Economic Commission of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, organized on 9 and 10 December the Annual West Africa and Sahel Youth Forum in Abuja. Participants discussed democracy, gender and peace, youth action, migration and the building of an innovation ecosystem. Young leaders also explored opportunities for African and diaspora youth. 


New episode of “She Stands for Peace”

This week’s episode of the UN Office to the African Union (UNOAU)'s podcast series on women in peace and political processes features UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ilze Brands Kehris. In this episode, she discusses the range of mechanisms to respect, protect, and promote women's rights before, during and post-conflict. She offers her insights on how to keep rights defenders safe in their interactions with the UN for human rights.

Listen to the episode

For more information on the podcast series, click here

Developing New Technologies for Peace

DPPA’s Innovation Cell, together with the Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) of the Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU), convened a design lab, titled E-Analytics on innovative solutions for peace from 6 to 8 December in Doha, Qatar. In its fifth year, the lab brought together an unlikely group of collaborators, including UN political analysts, computer scientists, designers, and others. Exploring topics such as social media analysis, open-source investigations, natural language processing, and geospatial analysis, the course aimed at enhancing core analytical skills. Participants focused on re-purposing new technologies for preventing conflicts and building sustainable peace processes and resilient societies. 

For more information

New Appointment

Secretary-General appoints Stephanie Williams as Special Adviser on Libya

The Secretary-General has appointed Stephanie Williams of the United States as his Special Adviser on Libya. She will lead good offices and mediation efforts and engagements with Libyan regional and international stakeholders to pursue implementation of the three intra-Libyan dialogue tracks — political, security and economic — as well as support the holding of presidential and parliamentary elections in Libya.  



Virtual visit to Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Secretary General’s Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) took its donors on a virtual visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on 6 December. The visit gave donors the opportunity to witness the positive impact of PBF support to community reintegration, social cohesion, inclusive local governance, and durable solutions in the context of the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) transition, particularly in the Kasai, Kasai Central and Tanganyika provinces. The visit also included interventions from recipient entities as well as local beneficiaries in Kasai Central, who highlighted the importance of linking peacebuilding efforts to inclusive development. Donors present in Kinshasa (and virtually) welcomed the PBF’s engagement and its efforts to create synergies across the Humanitarian-Development-Peace nexus. The visit was co-hosted by DRC Minister of Plan Christian Mwando Nsimba and David McLachlan Karr, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for the DRC (DSRSG/RC/HC).  

Watch the Voices from the Field produced for this visit here

Peacebuilding Commission discusses Post-Conflict Stabilization

On 7 December, the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) discussed the contributions of Security Sector Reform (SSR) and Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) to peacebuilding and sustaining peace. Alexandre Zouev, Assistant Secretary-General for Rule of Law and Security Institutions of the Department of Peace Operations (DPO), gave an overview of related UN assistance, stressing the need for stronger political engagement, coordination, and partnerships. The Cabinet Director of the Office of the President in Côte d’Ivoire and the National DDR Coordinator . also took part in the meeting. The PBC expressed support for efforts to ensure adequate, predictable and sustained financing for DDR and SSR processes, so that these can effectively contribute to peacebuilding. The PBC welcomed the DPO-UNDP-World Bank SSR programme, and encouraged continuous action to strengthen partnerships. PBC members expressed interest in discussing the recommendations of two forthcoming reports of the Secretary-General to the Security Council on DDR and SSR. 

Watch the video recording of the meeting

UNODC report on the cost of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea

As a follow-up to the PBC’s meeting on Piracy at the Gulf of Guinea in June, PBC Chair Mohamed Fathi Ahmed Edrees delivered remarks at the launching of the Stable Seas/UNODC report on the cost of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea on 7 December. In his remarks, the Chair acknowledged the importance of cross-regional initiatives between West and Central Africa to curb piracy in their respective maritime domains. He also recognized that capacity-building efforts must be owned by coastal countries and regional organizations and acknowledged that national authorities should be assisted in providing standardized and sustainable anti-piracy training to their own officials and to those of neighboring countries when possible. The Chair noted that the Stable Seas/UNODC report offers useful recommendations on how to focus even more on coherence and impact, and he encouraged stronger coordination among all concerned actors for the implementation of the Yaoundé Code of Conduct.

Read more here

PBC meeting on Sierra Leone 

On 9 December, Sierra Leone’s government, civil society and private sector representatives updated the PBC on their roadmap for a more flexible engagement with the Commission, seeking additional support for their youth and women empowerment efforts. Following briefings by Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Mamadi Gobeh Kamara, Minister of Planning and Economic Development Francis Kai-Kai, Minister of Youth Mohamed Orman Bangura, UN Deputy Special Representative for West Africa and the Sahel Giovanie Biha as well as civil society and private sector representatives, PBC members expressed support for national reconciliation efforts and underscored the role of the Independent Commission for Peace and National Unity, building on lessons from the truth and reconciliation process. They were concerned about increasing political polarization and called for peaceful and transparent elections in 2023. The PBC welcomed progress regarding the rights of women and girls and encouraged further measures to fight sexual and gender-based violence. They noted the country’s vulnerability to climate change and related pressures to natural resources that cause instability and stressed the need to empower youth green entrepreneurs. PBC members expressed appreciation and encouraged continuous Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) support to mitigate risks of renewed conflict.

Watch the video recording of the meeting

High-level dialogue on operationalizing burden and responsibility sharing

Speaking at the high-level dialogue on operationalizing burden and responsibility sharing, organized by the Group of Friends on Burden and Responsibility Sharing in Geneva on 9 December, the PBC Chair said the PBC has focused on supporting efforts to address the root causes of forced displacement through its country and regional engagements, even if it has not held any dedicated meetings on displacement issues. He referred to recent PBC discussions on the Sahel and the Lake Chad Basin, during which the Commission expressed concern about inter-communal violence, the farmer-herder conflict and forced displacement and committed to supporting efforts that aim to address these challenges. He stressed the need to tackle the transboundary aspects of forced displacement through regional approaches, and presented the PBC as a platform where concerned Member States and sub-regional organizations can share their experiences and seek further support in addressing challenges related to forced displacement and peacebuilding. 

Next Week

On 14 December, Under-Secretary-General Rosemary DiCarlo will brief the Security Council on Non-proliferation and Special Envoy Hans Grundberg on the situation in Yemen. The same day, at 4:30 pm EDT, the Peacebuilding Commission will hold a virtual meeting on Papua New Guinea.


On 15 December, Special Representative François Louncény Fall will brief the Security Council on Central Africa, and the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the Peacebuilding Commission will hold a joint meeting.

Using New Technologies for Inclusive Peace

DPPA’s Innovation Cell is organizing an event on 11 December at 4pm EDT on the future of Peace Tech at the Expo 2020 Dubai to discuss how new technologies can promote inclusive peace solutions. The event will be held in a hybrid format and open to public virtually.

Join the discussion here