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This Week in DPPA: 9 - 15 December 2023

A brief roundup of United Nations-related political and peacebuilding events and developments around the world. 

SRSG Abarry alerts Council on developments in Central Africa

Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and Head of the UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) Abdou Abarry briefed the Security Council on 13 December on several countries under his mandate. In São Tomé and Príncipe, his Office continued its support to the authorities in reforming the justice and security sectors. In Chad, the transition process will take a crucial step with the holding of a referendum intended to provide the country with a new constitution. The crisis in Sudan continued, he said, with people seeking refuge in Chad and the Central African Republic. On the August coup d'état in Gabon, which took place following a contentious electoral process, the SRSG emphasized that an inclusive, consensual and open process was needed. In that regard, UNOCA had initiated discussions with the new authorities to restore normal constitutional order within a reasonable time frame after an inclusive transition.

Full remarks

Presidents of Guyana and Venezuela commit to peaceful resolution

Presidents of Guyana and Venezuela met in St. Vincent and the Grenadines on 14 December under the auspices of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to address “matters consequential to the border controversy” between the countries over the Essequibo Region. The Chef de Cabinet, Courtenay Rattray, accompanied by Assistant Secretary-General Miroslav Jenča, participated in the meeting as observers. The parties adopted a declaration as a show of commitment to settle their differences through peaceful means, in accordance with international law, including the Geneva Agreement of 1966.

UNRCCA Preventive Diplomacy Academy holds online course on project development

This week, the UN Regional Central for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA) Preventive Diplomacy Academy held an online session for members of the Regional Alumni Network. Young members of the Regional Network had the opportunity to present their project proposals to potential sponsors. The initiatives focused on preventing domestic violence against women, increasing women's participation in decision-making processes, and launching a social media campaign to raise awareness among Central Asian youth on these essential issues.

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Senior Policy Group of the UN Great Lakes Strategy for Peace Consolidation, Conflict Prevention and Conflict Resolution in the Great Lakes region meets in Kampala

From 11 to 12 December, the Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes region, in collaboration with the Office of the Resident Coordinator in Uganda, organized in Kampala a retreat of the Senior Policy Group (SPG) of UN entities in the Great Lakes region. The Group met to review progress in the implementation of the Regional Strategy and its updated Action Plan (2023-2024). Participants discussed recent political, security and humanitarian developments in the region, including regional peace initiatives, and underscored the importance of the UN Regional Strategy. They also visited the transit centre of Nakasero, led by International Organization for Migration (IOM) in coordination with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Government of Uganda.

UNMHA works with community-led projects for peace in the Hudaydah Governorate

The UN Mission to support the Hudaydah Agreement (UNMHA) attended an event on 13 December that celebrated its first-ever implementation of Quick Impact Projects (QIPs) in Hays and Khawkhah. As part of its responsibilities mandated by Security Council Resolution 2534 (2020), the Mission has been undertaking community-led efforts to contribute towards peace and security. The project in Hays and Khawkhah furnished three schools and improved the learning environment for more than 5,000 students.  UNMHA plans to continue supporting community-led peace-building projects throughout the Hudaydah Governorate in collaboration with the local communities and authorities through its Civil Affairs Team. 

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UNSMIL listens to Libyan youth on path towards elections 

On 15 December, the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) organized a workshop to identify ways to help Libyan political leaders find a path towards elections and end the current political stalemate. A group of young women and men took part and presented their suggestions to Special Representative of the Secretary General Abdoulaye Bathily. “For a peaceful, inclusive and democratic country we need to bring the five major stakeholders together to find a compromise and restore the electoral process,” he said, adding that this would open a new door for Libya, its youth, and its future.

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UNOAU Head reaffirms commitment to women's empowerment at 4th High-Level African Forum on Women, Peace and Security 

Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Office to the African Union (UNOAU) Parfait Onanga-Anyanga took part in the 4th High-Level African Forum on Women, Peace and Security, held on 13-14 December. In his remarks, he reiterated the UNOAU’s commitment to amplifying women’s voices, strengthening networks, and implementing the proposed gender agenda.

Full remarks

UNAMA releases new report: "The Handling of Complaints of Gender-Based Violence against Women and Girls by Afghanistan's de facto Authorities"

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has been monitoring the efforts of successive governments of Afghanistan to address incidents of gender-based violence against women and girls. Its newly released report on “The Handling of Complaints of Gender-based Violence against Women and Girls” notes that “the Afghanistan context after the Taliban takeover and the discriminatory restrictions imposed on women and girls further heightens their vulnerability to gender-based violence, both in the public and private sphere. The latter includes domestic and intimate partner violence given women and girls’ increasing relegation to their homes.”

Full report

Special Representative Simão attends ECOWAS meetings

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), Leonardo Santos Simão, concluded yesterday a one-week working visit to Nigeria's capital, Abuja. He participated in the 91st ordinary session of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers on 7 December and in the 64th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, held in Abuja on 10 December. In a meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Yusuf M. Tuggar, the Special Representative commended the tireless efforts of Nigeria to foster peace and stability in the sub-region. 

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Peacebuilding Fund Group of Friends convenes its quarterly meeting

The Peacebuilding Fund’s (PBF) Group of Friends convened for their fourth quarterly meeting on 14 December, co-chaired by Sweden and the United Kingdom. The partners were briefed on a PBF-funded project in the Gambia that is supporting civil society organizations to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment. PBF has invested $22 million in the country since 2018 to strengthen prevention and conflict resolution, local capacities, gender-sensitive solutions to the prevention of violent extremism, and address the impact of climate change, especially in border regions with Mali and Senegal.  

PBSO holds training session on climate, peace and security peacebuilding programming

This week, DPPA’s Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO), together with the UN System Staff College, the Climate Security Mechanism, and the think tank Adelphi, organized the second UN training on climate peace and security peacebuilding programming in Turin, Italy. Participants included staff from Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) secretariats, Peace and Development Advisors and Resident Coordinator Offices from 15 countries. Building on PBSO’s 2023 Thematic Review on Climate Security and Peacebuilding, the training familiarized participants with key concepts, learning, and tools from across the UN system and other sources, and how to apply these in programmatic responses at the country level. 


Children and youth take part in mission organized cultural workshop

On 9 December, over 100 children and young people gathered in the former territorial area for training and reintegration (TATR) La Variante, in rural Tumaco of the Nariño Department, to take part in a cultural and community workshop. The event was organized by the UN Verification Mission in Colombia and the Afro Youth Centre, together with Agencia para la Reincorporación y la Normalización (ARN) Colombia. It provided a space to promote the process of community reintegration and the first step towards the creation of support and learning networks between children, adolescents and young people from the former TATR, from the surrounding villages of Caunapí and Nuevo Futuro, and from the Afro Youth Centre in the urban area of Tumaco. 

UN Mission takes part in “meeting of non-violent youth” in Santa Elena 

On 10 December, the UN Verfication Mission in Colombia took part in a "Meeting of Non-Violent Youth" held in the village of Santa Elena in Medellín, department of Antioquia. Members of the Camino Diferencial de Vida programme and families of former combatants took part in various recreational activities, including a silk-screen printing workshop. The contribution of youth to peacebuilding and reconciliation in the city was highlighted. 


Special Coordinator Wronecka attends Doha Forum

This week, Special Coordinator of the Secretary-General for Lebanon Joanna Wronecka took part in the 21st Doha Forum in Qatar under the theme “Building Shared Futures.” Speaking at a roundtable on peacebuilding, the Special Coordinator highlighted the need to build on positive achievements, such as the maritime agreement between Lebanon and Israel; and strengthening the role of the Women, Peace and Security agenda. On Lebanon, the Special Coordinator emphasized the ongoing cooperation within the International Support Group for Lebanon and the League of Arab States for shielding Lebanon from regional conflict and promoting its stability.

Special Coordinator Wronecka meets Maronite Patriarch

On the occasion of the year-end holidays, Special Coordinator Wronecka visited Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rahi on 14 December. The discussions focused on the prolonged presidential vacuum in Lebanon, its impact on the work of other state institutions and the need to avoid another vacuum at the helm of the military institution. They emphasized the importance of Lebanon’s political leaders showing a renewed sense of responsibility in support of Lebanon’s stability and prosperity.


UN Special Representative for Iraq attends Election Day simulation

On 12 December, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert attended a simulation of Election Day processes held by Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC). The simulation included a comprehensive demonstration of all electronic devices to be used on Election Day, such as voter verification devices, polling station count optical scanners, results transmission devices, and cameras.  

UN Iraq participates in COP28

Deputy Special Representative/Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator (DSRSG/RC/HC) for Iraq Ghulam Isaczai and several UN Country Team Resident Representatives and Heads of Agencies attended the 2023 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP28). In his interventions, DSRSG/RC/HC Isaczai emphasized that "Discussing climate change impacts on Iraq over the last days has been alarming. Urgent action is needed to ensure food sustainability and resilience. Prioritizing agriculture and food security is crucial, and the United Nations is committed to providing support". On the sidelines of COP28, DSRSG/RC/HC Isaczai met with Iraq's Environmental officials to discuss Iraq’s progress in the global climate arena. He also met separately with Nawal Al Hosani, Assistant Undersecretary of Green Development and Climate Change Sector of the United Arab Emirates, where they discussed strengthening South-South Cooperation on joint-climate action.  

DSRSG Cordone meets with Kuwait Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs

On 13 December, DSRSG for Iraq for Political Affairs and Electoral Assistance Claudio Cordone met with Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Jarrah Jaber Alahmad Alsabah in Kuwait. Discussions focused on the importance of speeding up the work on Kuwaiti missing persons and property, and the role of UNAMI in supporting the process. 

UNAMI marks Human Rights Day and the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

On 13 December, UNAMI’s Human Rights Office, in collaboration with the Babylon Film Institute and Tarkib Organisation for Arts and Culture, held a human rights arts exhibition and film screening at the UNAMI HQ in Baghdad to mark the Human Rights Day and the 75th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Speaking at the event, Special Representative Hennis-Plasschaert stated: “The exhibits and films on display shed light on topics which impact the rights of people, not just in Iraq, but across the globe. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. And I am convinced that today’s exhibit can help to expand our understanding of persistent human rights challenges.”

On 11 December, the College of Education for Woman at University of Baghdad, in collaboration with the UNAMI Human Rights Office, marked Human Rights Day and the 75th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The event, organised as part of the UDHR75 initiative, brought together Iraqi government officials and civil society representatives and aimed to engage young people in the promotion of human rights and the principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. University staff and students also participated in the event, where UNAMI and Government of Iraq representatives delivered speeches to mark the occasion. In addition, there were a number of activities, including a dialogue on human rights, and a play presented by the students.  

UNAMI briefs students and professors at Tishk International University and holds discussion on combatting online violence against women and girls

On 10 December, in coordination with Tishk International University in Erbil, the UNAMI Human Rights Office organized a briefing session for students and professors on human rights. Participants were briefed on UNAMI’s human rights monitoring and reporting, with a focus on work in the Kurdistan region, including civic space and the administration of justice. 

On 14 December, UNAMI Human Rights Office organized a roundtable discussion in Basra as part of the 16 Days of Activism. The event aimed to address online violence against women and girls. The participants engaged in a comprehensive dialogue on challenges and potential solutions pertaining to online violence, and suggested recommendations to address this issue. 

Next Week

On 18 December, the Security Council will hold briefings on Lebanon in the morning and non-proliferation in the afternoon. On 19 December, it will discuss the situation in the Middle East. On 20 December, Special Representative Roza Otunbayeva is expected to brief on Afghanistan. On 21 December, the Council will discuss Syria.