Pedersen: Fifth session of the Constitutional Committee “a missed opportunity”
Special Envoy Geir Pedersen on 9 January updated the Security Council, in a closed session, on the challenges in the political process in Syria. “I shared with the Council the assessment that I shared with the Committee members themselves, that session five of the Constitutional Committee was a missed opportunity and a disappointment,” Mr. Pedersen told the press after the meeting. He also advocated for the need for a “constructive international diplomacy that bridges existing divides and focuses on mutual and reciprocal steps for steps.”
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DiCarlo warns of risk of backsliding in Ukraine
Under-Secretary-General Rosemary DiCarlo on 11 February briefed the Council on the situation in Ukraine. “The fact that the ceasefire has largely held up and that discussions continue in the established formats is no reason for complacency. Nor is it a substitute for meaningful progress. The risk of backsliding is real if negotiations become deadlocked,” Ms. DiCarlo warned.
Read her full remarks here
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Pre-electoral mission to Benin
The Special Representative and Head of UNOWAS, Mohammed Ibn Chambas, from 7 to 10 February carried out a pre-electoral mission to Benin ahead of the 11 April presidential election. He met with President Patrice Talon and held consultations with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, the Presidents of the Constitutional Court and the Commission Electorale Nationale Autonome (CENA,) leaders and representatives of pro-government and opposition political parties as well as civil society organizations. Among several issues discussed was the importance of democratic consolidation and to ensure that the upcoming presidential election is peaceful, inclusive, transparent and credible. Political actors were encouraged to prioritize dialogue in addressing any differences, to ensure a meaningful participation of women and youth and to promote the respect for human rights and the rule of law throughout the electoral process. During the visit, Mr. Chambas also held a meeting with the diplomatic community and colleagues of the UN system in Benin.
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Ján Kubiš takes up functions as Special Envoy for Libya
The new Special Envoy and Head of UNSMIL, Ján Kubiš, started in his new position on 8 February. Mr. Kubiš has already spoken with President of the Presidency Council Fayez Serraj and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammed Siala. He stressed the UN’s commitment to a stable, prosperous, sovereign and unified Libya, building on the momentum generated by positive developments achieved in the past months in the political, security and economic files, including ceasefire agreement through Libyan-led and Libyan-owned efforts and processes.
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New report on Iraq’s electoral preparations and processes
Since September 2020, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) has been issuing monthly reports on electoral preparations in Iraq, in conformity with its mandate under Security Council Resolution 2522 (2020) to provide electoral assistance and advice to the Government of Iraq and the Independent High Electoral Commission. The fifth report combining the months of December 2020 and January 2021 can be found here.
Special Envoy visits Iran and Saudi Arabia
This week, Special Envoy Martin Griffiths visited Iran and Saudi Arabia as part of his diplomatic efforts to support a negotiated political solution to the conflict in Yemen. In Iran, the Special Envoy met with Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and other officials. In Saudi Arabia, he met with Saudi Deputy Minister of Defense Prince Khalid bin Salman, Yemeni Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ahmed Bin Mubarak, the US Envoy to Yemen, Tim Lenderking, as well as other officials. “I will continue working with renewed urgency with the parties and regional and international actors to end the hostilities, alleviate humanitarian suffering and find a peaceful settlement to end the conflict in Yemen,” Mr. Griffiths said.
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In Pasto, people dress in "Colors of Peace”
In Pasto, the capital of Nariño, in southern Colombia, 24 former FARC-EP combatants are moving forward with their reintegration process. In the city, job opportunities are hard to come by, which is why Carlos Hugo Saavedra, who committed to the peace process after 12 years with the guerrillas, decided that the best thing to do was to have his own business and provide work for others. With the support of the National Learning Service, the Agency for Reintegration and Normalization, and the accompaniment of the UN Verification Mission, he created a clothing business called 'Colores de Paz,' which employs women victims of the conflict. This week he signed a contract to make the uniforms for a renowned soccer school in Pasto "CAR Nariño FC" and hopes that this will be the beginning of the economic recovery from the pandemic's ravages.
In Mutatá, the construction of housing for former combatants makes progress
In the community of La Fortuna in Mutatá, Antioquia department, where former FARC-EP combatants relocated from the Reintegration Area of Ituango, the UN Mission advances in its verification tasks. This week the local team met with the former FARC-EP combatants in the area. Housing construction continues there, and projects are being undertaken with the support of the Agency for Reincorporation and Normalization (ARN). The Colombian government acquired two 137-hectare plots of land for 63 former combatants and their families.
2020 UN-World Bank Partnership Monitoring Report launched
The UN and the World Bank on 9 February issued the yearly report on the implementation of the Partnership Framework for Crisis-Affected Situations. The report illustrates how the two organizations work together to confront compounding risks of conflict and the COVID-19 pandemic and its socioeconomic impact in almost 50 countries. Jointly prepared by the DPPA’s Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO) and the World Bank Fragility, Violence and Conflict Group, and based on extensive inputs from across UN and World Bank, the report is testimony to an increasingly meaningful and operational partnership on the ground.
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Induction training for Peacebuilding Commission members
PBSO and the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) on 9 and 10 February hosted an induction course for new members of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) at the expert- and Ambassadorial-levels respectively. The expert-level training, moderated by the UNITAR Head of Office, Marco Suazo, aimed to prepare delegations of incoming PBC members for their terms by orienting them in PBC functions and mandate; its relationship with the General Assembly, Security Council, ECOSOC and other UN organs; PBC’s role in building partnerships; and PBC working methods. At the Ambassadorial-level, after opening remarks by Under-Secretary-General DiCarlo and the UNITAR Executive Director, Assistant Secretary-General Seth, DPPA leadership and the Permanent Representatives of Burkina Faso, Canada, Egypt (PBC Chair), Japan, Papua New Guinea and Switzerland highlighted recent achievements of the PBC and areas that could be considered by the Commission in the current session (including financing, Women, Peace and Security, and institution building). Member States welcomed the training and called for stronger partnerships with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
Special Representative Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert will update the Security Council on the situation in Iraq and the work of UNAMI on 16 February. Yemen Envoy Martin Griffiths will update on the situation in the country on 18 February.