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This Week in DPPA: 7 - 13 October 2023

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

Middle East

Secretary-General deplores “unending cycle of death and destruction”

On 13 October, in his latest remarks to the press this week, Secretary-General António Guterres warned that the situation in Gaza had reached a “dangerous new low.” The “horrific terror attacks” by Hamas on Israel that killed more than 1,200 people and injured thousands were followed by intense strikes on Gaza, killing 1,800 people and injuring thousands more. Citing the 12 October warning by the Israeli Defense Forces calling on Palestinians in Gaza City and its surroundings to move to the south of the territory within 24 hours, he said: “Moving more than one million people across a densely populated warzone to a place with no food, water, or accommodation, when the entire territory is under siege, is extremely dangerous – and in some cases, simply not possible.” The Secretary-General said UN staff and partners were working around the clock to support the people of Gaza. He went on to note that immediate humanitarian access throughout the strip was needed to allow fuel, food and water to reach everyone in need. “Even wars have rules.” he said. 

Security Council

USG DiCarlo, in wake of deadly missile attack on Hroza, condemns "unbearable toll of civilian casualties" of Russian invasion of Ukraine

On 9 October, Under-Secretary-General Rosemary DiCarlo briefed the Security Council on the situation in Ukraine. She described how, on 5 October, the village of Hroza in the Kharkiv region suffered “one of the deadliest attacks on civilians since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.” She went on to note that at least 52 people were reportedly killed, and others injured, when a missile hit a shop and café. DiCarlo noted that UN human rights experts said that among the dead were 19 women, 15 men, and an eight-year-old boy. She reiterated the Secretary-General's strong condemnation of this “heinous attack.” Within 24 hours, civilians in the region were hit again, reportedly killing two and injuring 30, adding to “an already unbearable toll of civilian casualties resulting from Russia’s invasion.”

Read full remarks here

Special Representative Hennis-Plasschaert briefs Council on progress in Iraq

On 10 October, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert briefed the Security Council. She said that approximately one year on from the formation of Iraq’s current Government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, several important steps and promising initiatives had emerged. These included the beginning of long-awaited reforms in the financial and banking sectors and the establishment of an Iraq Fund for Development. She also stressed the significance of the upcoming Provincial Council elections on 18 December. "The region’s democratic process must prevail. There is so much at stake," she said.

Read full remarks here

“Never desist in the search for peace,” Special Representative Massieu says in Council briefing on Colombia

On 11 October, in his briefing to the Council, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia Carlos Ruiz Massieu briefed the Council on progress in Colombia during the first year of President Gustavo Petro’s administration. He highlighted that Colombia’s case is a reminder that even the most entrenched of conflicts can be resolved through dialogue. "Never desist in the search for peace,” he said.

Read full remarks here

Special Representative Onanga-Anyanga tells Council of “huge changes” facing Africa

On 12 October, the Security Council convened for a briefing to consider the Secretary-General’s latest report on strengthening the partnership between the UN and the African Union on issues of peace and security in Africa, including the work of the UN Office of the African Union (UNOAU). In his briefing, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of UNOAU Parfait Onanga-Anyanga said that the continent “is facing huge changes, the implications of which are not fully realized yet”, with the resurgence of violent conflicts and insurgencies. He also noted that better coordination is needed for economic development, inclusive of the shared vision of the 2030 Agenda.

Read full remarks here

Peacebuilding Commission

Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission briefing to the Security Council on Colombia

The Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, Hrvoje Ćurić Hrvatinić, Chargé d'Affaires of the Permanent Mission of Croatia to the UN, also took part in the meeting. He encouraged redoubling of efforts by all concerned parties, including the Security Council, to support accelerating the full implementation of the 2016 Final Peace Agreement. He welcomed the support provided by the UN in Colombia and the Peacebuilding Fund. He appreciated Colombia’s commitment to the inclusion of Indigenous Peoples in peace efforts and encouraged further international support. 


Assistant-Secretary-General Miroslav Jenča visits Haiti

On 11 October, Assistant-Secretary-General (ASG) for Europe, Central Asia and the Americas Miroslav Jenča arrived in Haiti, where he met with Prime Minister Ariel Henry, the members of Haiti’s High Transitional Council as well as with representatives of political parties. The ASG also used his visit to engage with civil society representatives, including women, youth and religious leaders. On social media, he underlined that it was critical to move forward with an inclusive and credible political process. The support given by Carribean Community (CARICOM) envoys, as well as the situation on the border with the Dominican Republic were also discussed with Foreign Minister Jean Victor Généus.

Central Asia

Special Representative Imnadze visits Moscow

This week, Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and Head of the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA) Kaha Imnadze traveled to Moscow. On 9 October, the SRSG met with the Deputy Secretary General of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), Samat Ordabaev. They discussed the latest developments in Central Asia, including in Afghanistan. 

Imnadze also met with the Secretary General of the Commonwealth of Independent States, Sergey Lebedev on developments in the region, including the situation in Afghanistan. On 10 October, SRSG Imnadze held meetings with officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, including Deputy Minister Sergey Vershinin, on the recent developments in Central Asia and the situation in Afghanistan. 


Promoting ecotourism for peace in San Agustin, Huila 

From 6 to 8 October, the UN Verificiation Mission in Colombia, alongside victims, community members, former combatants, and officials from local and international entities visited the "Ecotourism for Peace" project managed by residents from the locality of Puerto Quinchana, in San Agustín, Huila. This initiative is part of the community reintegration strategy led by an association mostly comprised of women and which works to promote reconciliation, peace and tourism development in the area. 

Murals for peace: Using art as a tool to strengthen reconciliation

The UN Verification Mission in Colombia, together with former combatants, their families, the community, ARN Colombia and the young artists of the Non-profit organization Redepaz, organized a day of mural art at the educational centre in Numbí, a village in Cumbal, Nariño. The event provided the opportunity for participants to exchange ideas on strengthening peace, reconciliation and community reincorporation in the area, an indigenous territory belonging to the Mayasquer reservation, a key region to the implementation of the Ethnic Chapter of the Peace Agreement.

Mission supports business management training for peace signatories and families 

With the support of the Verification Mission, ARN, the Uniconfacauca University and the Cauca Governor's Office, 160 former combatants and their families in Popayán and Santander de Quilichao, department of Cauca, participated in business management training courses. The “Management Tools for Solidarity Organizations” diploma course initiative aimed to strengthen cooperatives and promote the commercialization of their projects. The graduation ceremony for the participants was held in Popayán on 12 October.


Special Coordinator Wronecka intensifies good offices in wake of violence connected to the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza

This week, Special Coordinator of the Secretary-General Joanna Wronecka intensified her good offices work to protect Lebanon from a spillover of violence connected to the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. She met with senior Lebanese political and security officials, representatives of political parties and the diplomatic corps and coordinated with UNIFIL, which is deployed on the ground in south Lebanon. In the Special Coordinator’s meetings, including with the caretaker Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, the caretaker Foreign Minister, Abdallah Bouhabib, Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) Commander Gen. Joseph Aoun, General Security Acting Director Elias Bayssari, a number of parliamentarians and representatives of Hizbullah, Wronecka emphasized the utmost importance of safeguarding Lebanon’s security and stability during this period. She expressed her deep concern over incidents of exchange of fire across the Blue Line between Hizbullah and Palestinian groups on one hand, and Israel on the other.


Deputy Special Representative Cordone speaks on need for reparations and accountability

On 11 October, DSRSG for Iraq for Political Affairs and Electoral Assistance, Claudio Cordone, participated in the Middle East Research Institute Forum 2023 panel session on Sinjar Agreement: Progress and Barriers. In remarks, Cordone underlined the importance of implementing the Sinjar agreement as well as undertaking other steps on reparations and accountability to encourage returns and coexistence among all communities. 

UNAMI and UNICEF launch conservation project to cut water consumption of UN compounds in Iraq 

The UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and UNICEF have collaborated on a project aimed at reducing water consumption in UN compounds in the country by 30 per cent. In tandem, UNAMI is actively executing a comprehensive water conservation strategy, aiming to significantly decrease the demand for freshwater sources. Practical steps include replacing water fixtures in kitchens and bathrooms with low-flow, water-efficient alternatives and introducing smart water meters for real-time consumption monitoring.

Learn more here

UNAMI Human Rights Office holds digital security training in Karbala

On 6 and 7 October, UNAMI’s Human Rights Office and Iraqi Network for Social Media (INSM) Network organized a training on digital security and rights for human rights defenders, activists, journalists, bloggers, and lawyers. The training provided practical tools on how to safely maneuver through cyberspace and to enhance protection against hate speech online.


Launch of the revised Secretary-General’s Guidance Note on Transitional Justice

On 11 October, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support Elizabeth Spehar participated in a panel discussion together with the High Commissioner for Human Rights to mark the launch of the revised Secretary-General’s Guidance Note on Transitional Justice. The ASG underscored the role of transitional justice in peacebuilding and prevention. She stressed how the UN has a role to play at different stages of peacebuilding, from peace negotiations to the implementation of agreements. The launch event was attended by Member States, UN entities, and civil society representatives. The new Guidance Note takes into account developments in the field of transitional justice and lessons learned from across the UN system and other actors. 

Next Week

On Monday, the Security Council will discuss the situation in Libya. On Tuesday, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General Huang Xia will brief the Council on the Great Lakes region. On Thursday, Special Representative of the Secretary-General Catriona Laing will brief on the situation in Somalia. On Friday, the Council will discuss maintenance of international peace and security: Contributions of regional mechanisms for peace and security. 


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