West Africa and the Sahel: Together, we will defeat COVID-19
Mohammed Ibn Chambas, Special Representative and Head of UNOWAS, issued a statement on COVID-19 on 5 April. “I call on all citizens in West Africa and the Sahel to maintain this determination and continue to respect all the measures imposed by the national authorities to fight the spread of COVID-19," the Special Representative said. “Together, we will defeat COVID-19,” Mr. Ibn Chambas concluded.
Read the full statement here
Libya: Call for immediate cessation of hostilities and unity to combat COVID-19
4 April marked one year since the forces of “Libyan National Army” Commander General Khalifa Haftar launched their offensive to seize Tripoli, Libya’s capital. The same day, UNSMIL issued a statement where it appealed to “all concerned to activate the humanitarian truce immediately and cease all military operations to allow Libyan authorities to respond to the threat of COVID-19." The statement also called on the parties to the conflict, and their foreign backers, to accept the ceasefire agreement proposed in Geneva, embrace the outcomes of the Berlin conference, implement UN Security Council Resolution 2510, and engage without delay in the three UN-facilitated Libyan-led tracks (military, political, and economic).
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Lebanon: Meeting of the International Support Group
At the invitation of Lebanese President Michel Aoun, the International Support Group (ISG) met in Beirut on 6 April. ISG brought together the United Nations and the governments of China, France, Germany, Italy, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States, together with the European Union and the Arab League since 2013. Ján Kubiš, Special Coordinator and Head of UNSCOL, said that: “In support of the government efforts, the UN is strengthening the engagement with communities, to provide evidence-based guidance about COVID-19 prevention, mitigation and care, to continue delivering critical assistance and services to most vulnerable communities, including primary health care, protection, shelter and sanitation”.
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Yemen: Ceasefire to avert COVID-19
In a statement, Special Envoy Martin Griffiths welcomed the announcement by the Joint Forces Command of a two-week unilateral ceasefire covering all ground, maritime and air operations in Yemen starting on 9 April. The announcement came in support of the UN’s peace process and the UN Secretary-General’s call for a nationwide ceasefire in order to avert the grave risks of a COVID-19 outbreak. “I am grateful to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Arab Coalition for recognizing and acting on this critical moment for Yemen. The parties must now utilize this opportunity and cease immediately all hostilities with the utmost urgency, and make progress towards comprehensive and sustainable peace,” Mr. Griffiths said.
Read full statement here
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Peacebuilding Commission meeting on the impact of COVID-19
Marc-André Blanchard, Permanent Representative of Canada, chaired a virtual Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) meeting on 8 April on the impact of COVID-19 on peacebuilding and sustaining peace.
Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed briefed the PBC, alongside the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Bank. Member States echoed Secretary-General António Guterres’ call for global solidarity and emphasised the importance of working along the humanitarian, development and peace nexus in support of the Secretary-General’s recovery and response plan. They took note of ongoing efforts to leverage the global footprint of the UN system in implementing the Secretary General’s plan and stood ready to lend full support to the UN in meeting this enormous test of the reformed system. They agreed that the PBC should continue advocating for predictable financing and strong partnerships for peacebuilding and sustaining peace and called for stronger UN-World Bank partnership in support of nationally owned and conflict-sensitive responses to the pandemic.
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For up-to-date information on COVID-19 and its impact, please visit:
UN coronavirus website
Briefing on the new EU operation in the Mediterranean
Under-Secretary-General DiCarlo briefed the Security Council on 8 April on “Operation Irini”, the new European Union (EU) military operation to contribute to the implementation of the United Nations arms embargo on Libya. Council members gathered via a closed video teleconference. Operation Irini succeeded Operation Sophia, which the EU reports was involved in rescuing nearly 45,000 people off the coast of Libya. Operation Sophia was also tasked in 2016 with supporting the implementation of the arms embargo on Libya and, in 2017, with monitoring illegal trafficking of oil exports.
Briefing on the impact of COVID-19
In a closed VTC on 9 April, Secretary-General António Guterres briefed the Security Council on the impact of COVID-19 on the issues that fall under the Council’s mandate, including special political missions and peacekeeping operations.
Please see the Security Council website for an updated program of work.
Observance of International Mine Awareness Day
Somalia observed International Mine Awareness Day on 4 April. In Mogadishu, James Swan, Special Representative and Head of UNSOM, highlighted the need for collaboration to eliminate the threat of mines to Somalis and Somalia's development. “Explosive hazards and improvised explosive devices in Somalia not only endanger the lives of civilians but also undermine state-building and economic development - areas in which Somalia has made commendable progress,” Mr. Swan said. Since 2018, there have been 3,279 casualties due to explosive remnants of war and improvised explosive device incidents in the country.
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Meeting with Prime Minister-designate
Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, Special Representative and Head of UNAMI, met with Prime Minister-designate Adnan Al-Zurf in Baghdad on 4 April. They discussed the health and political situation in the country, including the formation of a new government. Iraq faces major economic, security, health and social challenges.
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