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This Week in DPPA: 7 - 13 January 2023

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

Security Council

USG DiCarlo briefs Security Council: "The war in Ukraine is approaching its one-year anniversary, with no end in sight" 

On 13 January, Under-Secretary-General Rosemary DiCarlo briefed the Security Council on the situation in Ukraine. She said there was no end in sight to the war as it approached its one-year anniversary. Russian Forces continued to launch more Ukraine-wide attacks throughout the holiday season, she said, noting that “Too many Ukrainians spent what is normally a festive period in bomb shelters,” with countless families mourning the loss of loved ones. Russia’s attacks have continued in 2023, and ground fighting has intensified, especially in the Donetsk region, posing a threat to the remaining civilian population. She stressed that the war had forced millions to flee their homes, and that “fuelling the displacement is the purposeful, systematic targeting of critical and civilian infrastructure, including energy and healthcare facilities.” DiCarlo also affirmed that the Secretary-General was ready to assist the parties to end the unjustified conflict, on the basis of the UN Charter and international law. 

SRSG Otunbayeva addresses Security Council in private meeting on situation in Afghanistan 

On 13 January, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) Roza Otunbayeva addressed the Security Council in a private session. The SRSG underscored that the Taliban decisions restricting the rights of women and girls — including the recent bans on higher education for women and on participation in the humanitarian workforce — are grave violations of fundamental human rights. They also contradict assurances the Taliban gave prior to taking power about the role of women in the country. The SRSG also outlined the potential negative impact of such decisions, including, most immediately, on the delivery of humanitarian assistance to Afghans in desperate need. She stressed the need for Council unity in the face of these decisions. 

Briefing the Council, SRSG Massieu outlines progress in Colombia on rural reform, peace talks 

On 11 January, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Colombia, Carlos Ruiz Massieu, briefed the Security Council on the most recent Report on the UN Verification Mission in Colombia. He highlighted that the Secretary-General welcomed the Government of Colombia’s recent actions to move forward in some of the areas of the Final Peace Agreement and stressed that the success of the reintegration process is essential to building a stable and lasting peace in Colombia. The SRSG expressed his concern about the ongoing violence against communities, social leaders and former FARC-EP members, over six years since the signing of the Agreement. He welcomed the Security Council’s decision to authorize the expansion of the Mission’s mandate to include the Agreement’s comprehensive rural reform and the ethnic chapter in its verification tasks, which will enable the Mission to increase its contribution to peace in Colombia. Vice-President of Colombia, Francia Márquez, and the Secretary of the High-Level Forum of Ethnic Peoples created by the Peace Agreement, Armando Wouriyu Valbuena, also participated in the meeting. 

DSRSG Biha of UNOWAS tells Council that security is deteriorating due to continued activities of armed groups 

On 10 January, Giovanie Biha, Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General and Officer-in-Charge of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), briefed the Council on developments in the region. She said despite efforts by national security forces and international partners, security has deteriorated in large parts of the region, causing over 10,000 schools across the Sahel to close and forcing nearly 7,000 health centres to shut down due to the activities of armed groups and violent extremists. “These non-State groups are fighting among themselves for supremacy, pushing States to the margin and causing untold misery to millions of people who had to leave their communities to seek safety,” she said. She went on to highlight the support her Office is providing to the Independent High-Level Panel on Security and Development in the Sahel, which is being led by former President of Niger Mahamadou Issoufou. 

UN publishes “Highlights of Security Council Practice 2022” 

The UN released its publication "Highlights of Security Council Practice 2022” this week. For the first time in four decades, the Council adopted a resolution calling on the General Assembly to hold an emergency special session in accordance with that organ’s resolution “Uniting for Peace.” The resolution was adopted with three abstentions, and despite the negative vote of the Russian Federation. 2022 also saw the addition of two new agenda items, “Maintenance of peace and security of Ukraine” and “letter dated 13 September 2022 from the Permanent Representative of Armenia to the UN addressed to the President of the Security Council.” The publication further noted that in 2022, the 15-member organ held 292 formal meetings, adopted 54 resolutions, issued 7 presidential statements and considered 49 agenda items. 

Security Council votes unanimously in favor of resolution to extend Syria cross-border humanitarian operations for six months 

On 9 January, the Council decided to extend the use of the Bab al-Hawa border crossing for the delivery of aid into north-west Syria until 10 July 2023. Through resolution 2672 (2023), the Council confirmed the extension of its previous authorization of the Bab al-Hawa crossing point on Syria’s border with Türkiye. The Council also requested the Secretary-General to provide a special report on humanitarian needs in Syria no later than 10 June 2023. By the text, it also demanded the full, immediate implementation of all provisions of all relevant Council resolutions and called on Member States to address the urgent needs of the Syrian people in light of the socioeconomic and humanitarian impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on that country.   

Watch the meeting here


SRSG Hennis-Plasschaert meets with Governor of Basra 

On 9 January, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, met in Basra with the Governor of Basra, Asaad Al Eidani. They discussed the current political and security situation in the Governorate. 


UN Special Envoy for Yemen meets with Foreign Minister of Oman 

On 11 January, the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, Hans Grunberg, concluded his visit to Muscat, Oman. He met with the Foreign Minister of Oman, as well as other senior Omani officials. They discussed developments in Yemen, as well as regional and international efforts to renew the truce and work toward a political settlement. 

Great Lakes region 

Office of the Special Envoy for the Great Lakes holds photo contest  

The Office of the Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region (OSESG-GL) recently announced the launch of its photo competition, "The Great Lakes Region Through Your Lens" (#OurRegionOurVision). The initiative is aimed at showcasing progress and ongoing efforts towards a more peaceful, stable, inclusive and prosperous Great Lakes region, in line with the Peace, Security and Cooperation (PSC) Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the region and the United Nations Strategy for Peace Consolidation, Conflict Prevention and Conflict Resolution in the Great Lakes Region. The contest is open until 5 February. 

New Agenda for Peace 

Call to submit ideas and a vision for the Secretary-General’s “New Agenda for Peace” by 15 January 

DPPA is helping to draft a “New Agenda for Peace,” an initiative aimed at revitalizing how the global community responds to violent conflict, as called for by the Secretary-General’s Our Common Agenda report. Along with Member States, civil society groups and representatives from around the world are encouraged to submit their ideas to the email address NewAgendaForPeace@un.org in any of the six UN official languages by 15 January 2023. 

New DPPA Exhibit

“Diplomacy for Peace” sheds light on work of Special Political Missions  

This year, the UN is marking the seventy-fifth anniversary of its first “special political mission”, which was established to mediate the conflict in Palestine in 1948. That mediation effort also laid the groundwork for the UN’s first peacekeeping mission. Today, there are more than 40 special political missions (SPMs), including multiple field operations deployed around the world. As part of the year’s commemorative events, DPPA is launching “Diplomacy for Peace,” an exhibit that sheds light on the history of SPMs and their work in conflict prevention, mediation, and peacebuilding. The exhibit provides an overview of how SPMs function as important tools for the maintenance of international peace and security and are also a highly visible manifestation of the Secretary-General’s “good offices.” By working to detect crises early and defuse tensions, they help conflict parties achieve negotiated solutions, and support Member States in building sustainable peace. The exhibit will be on display in the Visitors Lobby (curved wall) of the UN Headquarters from 16 January to 28 February. 

Next Week

On 16 January, the Security Council will hold a meeting on the situation in Yemen. On 18 January, it will hold an open debate on the Middle East. 



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