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This Week in DPPA: 7 - 13 August 2021

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


Neighboring and regional countries have a vital role to play for Afghan peace

Deborah Lyons, Special Representative and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), met on 8 August with former president of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai to discuss the current situation in the country. They reiterated that Taliban attacks on cities have no possible justification and must stop immediately as they are causing immense harm to Afghan civilians. They also agreed that strong engagement from countries in the region was vital to save Afghan lives. Later in a tweet, she echoed the UN’s call for attacks to end immediately and stressed that Afghan leaders must intensify efforts to act in solidarity to end conflict. She further emphasized the vital role of the neighboring and regional countries to set aside differences and urgently demonstrate leadership with concrete actions in the interest of peace in Afghanistan and stability across the region. 

Civil society in central Afghanistan calls for an end to the conflict

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) facilitated radio series was organized and aired on 9 August with civil society representatives calling on the parties to the conflict to stop fighting and return to the negotiation table. During the radio programmes in Panjshir, Parwan and Kapisa provinces, speakers representing religious institutions, civil society, women councils, academia, and youth groups stressed that there is no justification for violence, armed conflict and loss of lives. They asserted that the wellbeing of all Afghans should be central to and the goal of peace talks. "Women and youth are the main victims of war and must stand up against it," said a rights activist, Shayesta Mehraban, in Panjshir. "The youth must convince each other that war is not the solution – we are all suffering and being killed in the war. If the youth stop fighting, the war inevitably ends.”

Read more here

Security Council

Significant progress achieved as Somalia election plans advance

James Swan, Special Representative and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), briefed the Security Council on 12 August of the significant progress that has been made in preparing for the elections since the signing of the Electoral Implementation Agreement between the Prime Minister and leaders of the Federal Member States on 27 May. However, he said that more progress is needed in the areas of electoral security due to the continuing threat posed by Al-Shabaab. He emphasized the need for " strong measures" to secure the women's 30% quota in parliament and greater inclusion of youth and historically marginalized communities in the electoral process.

Full briefing to the Security Council here


Situation in Myanmar “still very worrisome” amid severe third wave of COVID-19 infections

Christine Schraner Burgener, Special Envoy on Myanmar, briefed journalists on 10 August on the situation in Myanmar. Speaking from Switzerland, the Special Envoy expressed her full support to the recently appointed Special Envoy of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Erywan Yusof with hopes that a dialogue with the army "will be possible and all-inclusive". She also noted that she fears that the National League of Democracy that won the November 2020 election could also soon be forcibly disbanded. “In my view, the Commander-in-Chief appears determined to solidify his grip on power with the latest caretaker government announcement; also, with the formal annulment of the election result from last year and declaration of the Commander-in-Chief to be Prime Minister of the country,” she said, adding “This is an attempt to promote legitimacy against lack of international action taken. And I have to make (it) clear that the UN does not recognize Governments, so it’s up to the Member States.”

Watch her press briefing here

Read more here 


Special Envoy stresses immediate, safe and unimpeded humanitarian access

Geir O. Pedersen, Special Envoy for Syria, participated in the International Syria Support Group’s Humanitarian Task Force meeting convened virtually on 12 August. He conveyed his growing concern as increased hostilities lead to more civilian casualties. Thousands of civilians have been forced to flee Daraa al-Balad, he said. The Special Envoy reiterated his call for an immediate end to the violence and for all parties to uphold the principle of the protection of civilians and civilian objects, in accordance with international humanitarian law. He also stressed that immediate, safe and unimpeded humanitarian access must be granted to all impacted areas and communities, including Daraa al-Balad, and that the near siege-like situation must end.

Read more here


Deputy Special Representative discusses women’s participation in the upcoming elections

Deputy Special Representative (DSRSG) for Political Affairs and Electoral Assistance of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) Sólrún Gísladóttir attended on 7 August a meeting chaired by Iraq Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi at the Government Palace. They discussed technical preparations for the early general elections and issues related to voter cards, electronic counting, special voting, security and the women’s quota. The next day, DSRSG Gísladóttir met with the Commissioner of the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC), Ahlam Adnan al- Jabri, and Saeed al- Jayashi from the Office of the National Security Advisor to discuss the importance of promoting women’s participation in the upcoming elections. She also met with female candidates who had completed a training being offered by IHEC on the complaints and appeals process and electoral campaigns procedures. In Baghdad on 11 August, DSRSG Gísladóttir met with the Chairman of the IHEC Board of Commissioners, Judge Jalil Adnan Khalaf. They discussed IHEC staff issues, women’s quota, voting procedures for internally displaced persons (IDPs) and the importance of transparent communication. The same day, she met with Director General of the Women Empowerment Directorate Yossra Mohsen to discuss progress made toward implementing the work plan of the Women’s Political Empowerment, the status of the Anti-Domestic Violence Bill and the importance of engaging with civil society organizations working on women, peace and security.

Read more here on the latest Iraq’s Electoral Preparations and Processes 


Former combatants ask forgiveness for kidnappings in Caicedo

The UN Verification Mission accompanied an event on 7 August in the municipality of Caicedo, Antioquia department, where former FARC combatants acknowledged responsibility for the kidnapping of former Antioquia Governor Guillermo Gaviria and former Defence Minister Giberto Echeverri, killed in captivity in May 2003. At the event convened by the Truth Commission, victims and former combatants participated together in a march with white flags on the same bridge where the kidnapping took place two decades ago. "Peace is an uncertain road that we must all walk hand in hand, taking routes in concert," was the final message of the meeting.


UNSMIL facilitates virtual meeting of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum

Ján Kubiš, the Special Envoy for Libya and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), spoke at the session of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) held on 11 August, stressing that the ideas and four proposals developed by the Forum contain all the ingredients necessary to reach a constructive compromise. He appealed to the participants to mobilize the political will to reach an agreement on the holding of elections on 24 December. “We cannot afford another inconclusive outcome”, he added.  

Read more here

Full remarks of the Special Envoy here 


Call for nomination to recognize exceptional African women advancing the Women, Peace and Security agenda

As a follow-on to their publication ‘She Stands for Peace; 20 Years, 20 Journeys’, for the 20th Anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000), that was jointly produced by the UN Office to the African Union (UNOAU) and the African Union Commission (AUC) in 2020, UNOAU is planning to publish “She Stands for Peace - eBook” to recognize the contributions made by women and women’s organizations in peacebuilding efforts across Africa. The e-book will document stories of lived experiences, illuminate women’s struggles with building sustainable peace at different stages in the peacebuilding process, share forward-looking strategies for the implementation of resolution 1325 and mobilize stakeholders to create an enabling environment and support the participation of women in peacebuilding efforts. To this end, UNOAU is calling for nominations of individuals or women’s organizations, female citizens of African Union Member States, who have made impactful contributions to peace and security on the continent. The call will be open until Tuesday, 31 August 2021.

Click here for more details on nomination eligibility and criteria

Next Week

The Security Council will hold an open debate to discuss technology and peacekeeping on Wednesday, 18 August, and a briefing on threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts will take place on Thursday, 19 August.