The office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Guinea-Bissau launches a Public Report on the Right to Participate in Political and Public Affairs in Guinea-Bissau
The report is timely contribution on the Right to Participate in Political and Public Affairs in Guinea-Bissau. The Report reveals that although challenges remain, various achievements and good practices illustrate the commitment of the State and other stakeholders to ensure that the...
Noting that the people of Iraq were at “a critical juncture”, the top UN Envoy in the country told parliamentarians there on Thursday that over the past six weeks, hundreds of thousands have been peacefully voicing their “genuine, legitimate, demands, loud and clear”.
Following Israel's targeted killing of a Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader inside Gaza on Tuesday, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process has expressed his growing concern over increasing rocket fire across the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip.
“I am very concerned about the ongoing and serious escalation between Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Israel, following the targeted killing of one of the group’s leaders inside Gaza yesterday.
The indiscriminate launching of rockets and mortars against population centres is absolutely unacceptable and must stop immediately.
There can be no justification for any attacks against...
The UN Secretary-General has welcomed the decision to push back the deadline for the formation of a unity Government in South Sudan.
In a speech to the Paris Peace Forum in Paris on Monday, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said that to thrive, multilateralism had to adapt, mindful that “conflicts persist, creating suffering and displacement: our world is unsettled”. He was speaking as commemorations took place in countries across the world, marking the official end of the First World War, in 1918.
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has urged all concerned parties in Bolivia to “refrain from violence, reduce tension and exercise maximum restraint” in the wake of the resignation of President Evo Morales earlier on Sunday.
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has urged all concerned parties in Bolivia to “refrain from violence, reduce tension and exercise maximum restraint” in the wake of the resignation of President Evo Morales earlier on Sunday.
A recap of Friday’s stories in brief: Ongoing upheaval threatens civilians in Syria; ‘Brutal’ prison conditions may have prompted Morsi’s death; Rights experts condemn use of force in Chile protests; ICJ will hear claims by Ukraine; 60,000 youth refugees who travelled alone, in need across Italy.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has agreed to hear claims by Ukraine related to the conflict in the east of the country, where Government forces have been fighting mostly pro-Russian separatists, for more than five years.
United Nations human rights experts on Friday condemned the excessive use of force during Chile’s ongoing street protests, and in a statement underscored that violence “can never be the answer to people's social and political demands”.
On behalf of the Secretary-General, I am pleased to address this Committee on his seventh report entitled “Overall policy matters pertaining to special political missions”. I am also grateful for the presence of my colleague USG Atul Khare, whose services my department relies on for operational support to SPMs.
I would like to thank Finland and Mexico, as co-facilitators of this item, for their leadership and engagement. I also thank all Member States for the constructive interactive dialogue that we held last July. The focus then on adapting special political missions to evolving peace and security contexts was timely.
Today’s discussion is a further opportunity to exchange views on a range of policy issues which are elaborated in greater detail in the report. While, the report covers several thematic areas, I would like to focus my briefing on four areas, namely:
Throughout the year, special political missions continued to prioritize their core mandates of conflict prevention, conflict resolution, and sustaining peace.
In Syria, the efforts led by the Secretary-General with the support of his Special Envoy resulted in an agreement in late September between the Syrian parties for a credible, balanced and inclusive Syrian-owned and Syrian-led Constitutional Committee.
This was the first political agreement between the Government of Syria and the opposition. The Constitutional Committee was formally launched on 30 October and its Large Body of 150 members met on 31 October and 1 November in working sessions under the chairmanship of its two Co-Chairs. This week the work of the Constitutional Committee has continued, in the first working sessions of a Small Body of 45 members.
The Special Envoy for Yemen continues his engagement with all parties and stakeholders in the region. This includes providing support to the parties in implementing the Stockholm Agreement. Despite ongoing challenges and the fragility of the situation, the United Nations Mission to support the Hudaydah Agreement has made encouraging progress with the Yemeni parties and has had a positive deterrent effect.
In Myanmar, the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General has been working closely with the authorities to help resolve the Rohingya crisis. This engagement, focuses specifically on addressing the humanitarian crisis, promoting the safe, dignified, voluntary and sustainable return of Rohingya refugees and forcibly displaced persons, and ensuring accountability for human rights violations.
In February, the Secretary-General tasked his Special Representative and Head of the UN Mission in West Africa and the Sahel to lead an inter-agency mission to Burkina Faso. The aim was to assess the repositioning and organization of the UN presence there to address the challenges of intercommunal violence, terrorism, governance and long-term development needs. We are about to establish five offices in the country to carry out this agenda. We are leveraging PBF funds to address some of the funding gaps and we are keeping the Peacebuilding Commission engaged on these issues.
As outlined in the report of the Secretary-General, most of the activities undertaken by special political missions are conducted jointly or in consultation with regional and subregional partners. Their engagement and support remain essential for the successful implementation of the mandates of our missions.
In West Africa, our regional office, UNOWAS, is working closely with regional stakeholders, especially ECOWAS and the African Union, to advance preventive diplomacy and support political processes.
In Guinea-Bissau, UNIOGBIS and UNOWAS are working closely with other members of the Group of five international partners, the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States, the European Union and the Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries, to ease political tensions and advance the electoral process.
In Nigeria, Senegal and Mauritania, ahead of presidential elections held this year UNOWAS engaged with national stakeholders, alongside our regional and international partners, to encourage democratic consolidation in the region.
In East Africa, we are strengthening our cooperation with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development to advance conflict prevention in the region, including in Sudan and South Sudan.
And in Somalia, we are working in tandem with the African Union to advance peace and security and to strengthen state and local institutions.
Finally, in Central Asia, the regional center for preventive diplomacy, UNRCCA, continues to engage with the five Central Asian Countries -- and increasingly with Afghanistan -- to reinforce regional capacities in preventive diplomacy and support efforts towards greater regional cooperation and stability.
In this regard, UNRCCA revitalized its work to facilitate regional cooperation on transboundary water management, in close collaboration with the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea.
Special political missions continued to champion and support the effective implementation of the women, peace and security agenda. In June of this year, I issued a new DPPA Women, Peace and Security Policy to ensure that gender-sensitive analysis is systematically integrated into all our work. It also aims to better align our support to women’s meaningful political participation in peacemaking contexts around the world. Special political missions are increasingly integrating gender perspectives into the implementation of their mandates
The establishment of consultative Women’s Advisory boards and groups to our Special Envoys in Syria, Yemen and Iraq, demonstrated the importance we attach to working to ensure that the voices, concerns and needs of women are consistently heard and integrated into peace processes. This is in addition to our efforts to press for women’s direct participation in mediation efforts and political processes more broadly.
In Guinea-Bissau for instance, UNIOGBIS provided technical support to the advocacy efforts of women’s organizations. These efforts were instrumental in the adoption in August of the Parity Law on the Participation of Women in Politics and Decision-making Spheres.
In Afghanistan, UNAMA and UN Women held a series of nation-wide dialogues around women, peace and security. The dialogues reflected on opportunities and challenges for the meaningful participation of women in peace processes. These platforms provided an opportunity to hear women’s concerns and priorities, and to amplify their voices.
In July, I visited Afghanistan with the Deputy Secretary-General and the Executive Directors of UN-Women and UNFPA – an all-women delegation. The objective was to engage with national stakeholders, particularly women officials and women’s groups to support their roles in peace and political processes and their efforts to maintain the gains made for women’s rights in a peace settlement.
Globally, we need to scale-up all efforts aimed at promoting women’s meaningful participation and empowerment in peacemaking and peacebuilding processes.
It is equally important to ensure adequate, predictable and sustainable financing. In that regard, since 2015, the UN Peacebuilding Fund, has exceeded the Secretary-General’s 15 per cent target for gender-responsive peacebuilding. Last year, 40 per cent of its funding was allocated towards gender equality and women’s empowerment.
I have also asked my staff to prioritize the use of our Multi-Year Appeal funding for initiatives to promote women’s participation in contexts as diverse as the Great Lakes region, Colombia and Iraq.
Special political missions have been actively engaging youth in different aspects of their work, including through building their capacities and supporting their participation in peace processes.
In Central Asia, UNRCCA launched the “Preventive Diplomacy Academy”, an initiative aimed at increasing cooperation and trust between communities in border areas throughout Central Asia and Afghanistan. The initiative hopes to foster a culture of mutual understanding and mitigate conflict risks.
As part of this initiative, UNRCCA is organizing a series of workshops and outreach activities bringing together young people aged 18 to 29 to support their initiatives in inter-cultural dialogue, leadership and conflict management.
In Colombia, as part of the Mission’s strategy to advance youth, peace and security, a network of youth focal points was established across the mission’s regional and subregional offices. The aim is to integrate youth perspectives into the Mission’s verification and liaison activities.
I would like to pay a special tribute to the United Nations personnel serving in special political missions, working under challenging conditions to advance the promise of the Charter. I want to particularly honor the memory of Clive Peck, Hussein Abdalla Mahmoud El-Hadar and Seniloli Tabuatausole who lost their lives on 10 August when a car bomb exploded in Benghazi, Libya.
Our colleagues in Somalia are often subjected to mortar attacks targeting the UN compound, while those in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen, also face considerable risks while discharging their duties.
My Department is working closely with the Department of Safety and Security on risk management strategies and security mitigation measures. We cannot compromise the lives of our staff. We greatly value and appreciate their commitment and dedication.
As I conclude, I wish to thank this Committee and the broader Membership of the United Nations for the continued support to special political missions and to my Department. I reiterate our commitment to continue working with Member States and other partners to prevent conflicts and sustain peace. I look forward to your views and questions.
This Week in DPPA is a brief roundup of political and peacebuilding events and developments at UNHQ and around the world.
Partnerships key to evolving multilateralism, DiCarlo says at Yale lecture
New report on UN-AU partnership
Gender and Inclusive Mediation Strategies in focus at Helsinki seminar
Media summit spotlights impact of worsening violence against reporters in Afghanistan
National Rafting Championship "Paddling for Peace" makes history
Meetings to discuss ECCAS reform
“Building Partnerships for prevention”
Somalia’s food crisis can be tackled by data-driven early action and investment
Mano River Union
Peacebuilding Commission visits the Mano River Union
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Almost daily violence targeting built-up areas and health facilities in Syria continues to threaten the lives of civilians there, UN rights experts and humanitarians said on Friday.
A recap of Thursday’s UN News stories: ‘Terminator’ warlord handed 30-year sentence; UN chief calls for ‘meaningful dialogue’ in Iraq; Disease slashes global meat output; Hostilities in northeast Syria a grave concern; and how the Montreal Protocol is impacting the food chain.
Authorities in Burkina Faso must “do everything in their power” to bring to justice the perpetrators of an attack on a mining company convoy in the West African nation on Wednesday, which killed dozens and left scores more injured, the UN chief said on Thursday.
Organized crime, breakdowns in law and order, and attacks by extremists, are examples of the challenges faced by UN peacekeepers, the Security Council was told on Wednesday, during a briefing by senior UN Police Commissioners, and UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix.
A recap of stories this Wednesday: Statement by UN advisory group on Haiti’s crisis; Palestine refugee agency head steps down; Libya remains ensnared by violence; Cholera campaign to guard Sudan’s Khartoum; Pakistan’s Mahira Khan named UN Goodwill Ambassador.
Libya remains entangled in a “cycle of violence, atrocities and impunity”, International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda told the UN Security Council on Wednesday, nearly a decade since the Court began its work in the country.
Greater action is needed to protect the environment during wartime if the world is to realize the goal of a more sustainable future for all people and the planet, the head of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) warned on Wednesday.
The Co-Chairs of the Geneva International Discussions call for the immediate re-opening of all crossing points on the administrative boundary line (ABL) with South Ossetia. Recent months have seen a serious deterioration of the security situation on the ground, which has raised fears amongst the local population. The engagement in the Ergneti Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) framework by all participants shows the mutual concern and commitment of all to de-escalate, which the Co-Chairs welcome. The Co-Chairs and their organizations remain actively engaged in contributing to a solution to the continuing security challenges in the Chorchana-Tsnelisi area.
At the same time, we appeal to the relevant actors to re-open, without delay, all crossing points that have been closed since early September. While the concerns about the security situation are shared, steps to address these should be proportional and should always take humanitarian aspects into consideration. The ongoing closure of crossing points is aggravating an already difficult situation, as illustrated by recent medical cases, with a severe impact on the local conflict-affected population.
UN Statement as delivered by the Deputy Head of Office at UNOAU and Director of Political Affairs, Mr. Gerald Mitchell at the African Union Peace and Security Council's open session on 'Living Together in Peace'.
The top UN official in Yemen has welcomed an agreement to end infighting between the Government and separatist allies in the south of the country, known as the Southern Transitional Council, signed on Tuesday in Saudi Arabia.
Current trends and public pronouncements by some political leaders in Bosnia and Herzegovina indicate an effort to roll back reforms implemented since the end of the Balkan wars two decades ago, the UN Security Council heard on Tuesday.
At the core of peacekeeping lies the notion of shared responsibility, the UN peacekeeping chief said on Tuesday, presenting this year’s award for Female Police Officer of the Year, to a woman who “has made a career of speaking up and speaking out on behalf of all vulnerable populations”.
Ongoing violence in Cameroon’s northwest and southwest has created a fast-growing humanitarian emergency now affecting some 1.9 million people, a “15-fold increase since 2017”, UN humanitarians said on Tuesday.
I congratulate the Government of Yemen and the Southern Transitional Council on reaching an agreement on the way forward.
The signing of this agreement is an important step for our collective efforts to advance a peaceful settlement to the conflict in Yemen. Listening to southern stakeholders is important to the political efforts to achieve peace in the country.
I am grateful to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for mediating successfully this agreement and for their...
It is a pleasure to be back at Yale. A few years ago, as a Senior Fellow at the Jackson Institute, I taught a course here on multilateral institutions in the 21st century. At the time I was a former official of the State Department, drawing on my experience representing the United States in multilateral fora, especially the United Nations.
Today I am an official of the United Nations. The department I head plays a central role in United Nations efforts to prevent deadly conflict and build sustainable peace. We have a global mandate: political missions in Afghanistan, Colombia, Iraq, Libya, Haiti and Somalia; and envoys addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Myanmar. We also have envoys practicing conflict prevention at a regional level in East, West and Central Africa, and Central Asia. We provide support to the Secretary-General in his engagements across the world and are increasingly involved in work with e countries where no formally mandated peace operation is present.
As you can imagine, the big questions raised by the title of my remarks suffuse my work. But in the press of daily demands, it can, in all honesty, be hard to find time to think about them. So I particularly welcome the opportunity you have given me to share some thoughts with you today.
A difficult time…
We are having this conversation at a difficult time. Far from a “new world order”, what we see is unease and uncertainty across the globe; intensified competition amongst major powers; and a perception that we face threats more serious than we have seen in a generation: persistent conflict, accelerating climate change, and new forms of warfare deriving from technological change and without international governance.
In our core work of conflict prevention and resolution, we are seeing some negative trends. Three, all intertwined, stand out:
Together, these factors contribute to a sense that we have lost traction on the major conflicts; increase calls for isolationism and closed borders; and feed scepticism about multilateral efforts. Yet, as Secretary-General António Guterres has frequently observed, this is a moment where there is arguably more need for multilateral cooperation and collective solutions to a range of problems that transcend borders and regions than at any time in the United Nations’ history.
How to explain, and respond to, this central paradox?
My view is that a questioning of the relevance of multilateralism is rooted in divergence among states in their interpretation of the principles on which the UN is based, principles that have defined international cooperation for the past seven decades. This underpins a tendency to circumvent rules and leads some states to seek to redefine their roles in the multilateral system.
When the UN was established 74 years ago, its Member States committed to the sovereign equality of all states, to refraining from the use of force and to taking collective action regarding threats to international peace and security. These principles are outlined in the UN Charter, to which all Member States pledge adherence. They were developed by the victors of the Second World War — the major powers that exist today. But there are now new and rising powers that were not part of the creation of these rules. And even those who were, interpret them differently.
Let’s take one principle — sovereignty. To many countries, sovereignty does not mean that a state has the absolute right to do as it chooses. It also means that a state has responsibilities — not only to its citizens but to other states — not to pollute the environment, to prevent terrorists from crossing borders, to curb the flow of weapons, to abide by international human rights and humanitarian law. But to other states, sovereignty is deemed absolute. This has limited the UN’s ability to prevent and resolve conflicts in many parts of the world, including, perhaps most obviously, Syria.
Meanwhile, many people are losing faith in the process of globalization. They feel left behind. Around the world, we see the rising appeal of nationalist and populist voices.
Demonstrations are affecting countries from the Middle East to Latin America and the Caribbean and from Europe to Africa and Asia. While every situation is unique, one common thread connecting all demonstrations is a growing deficit of trust between people and political establishments. This constitutes a rising threat to the social contract.
Not all bad news…
Yet not all the news is bad. Indeed, if we look back at the recent high-level week of the General Assembly, more world leaders than ever before descended on New York. The climate crisis quite rightly topped the bill in terms of their attention – and beyond states, generated an extraordinary mobilization of activists, many of them young, demanding change at the Climate Action Summit.
As a collective body, the General Assembly itself counters the idea that unilateralism could be the answer to the world’s problems. What we heard from a number of Member States is that many of today’s challenges cannot be addressed by one state or a few states alone. For some issues, the way forward lies in more, not less international cooperation.
To quote the Secretary-General, however, “it is not enough to proclaim the virtue of multilateralism; we must prove its added value.” And collective action must be for a defined purpose, based on principles that are commonly agreed.
What to do?
So, what does multilateralism look like in practice? A short answer lies in one word, “partnerships”. There is not a juxtaposition between “multilateralism versus regionalism and unilateralism”. Multilateralism can mean a few states working togheter to solve common problems. Or an organization like the UN working with regional organizations or international financial institutions. But these partnerships must go beyond states and intergovernmental bodies to include civil society, the private sector, women’s organizations and youth – all of whom make an important contribution to global international cooperation.
We are still wrestling with existing threats and challenges to security – migration, terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, arms transfers. And we have new challenges to address – the impact of climate change on security, the benefits and risks of new technology. I think that you would all agree that not one country can solve these challenges alone.
Let me end here, as I am keen to hear your views, in particular, on how you see cooperation that is needed to address today’s security challenges; and your role in helping realize it.
A recap of stories this Monday: UN reaction to US Paris Agreement withdrawal; UNICEF urges repatriation of children stranded in Syria; Public health emergency in India’s New Delhi; Ebola health worker death in DR Congo shows deadly risks; Guinea Bissau crisis, Security Council update; UNEP campaign targets ocean microplastics.
The road ahead “will not be easy” for the Horn of Africa, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said on Monday, briefing the Security Council on her Joint Solidarity Mission with the African Union (AU) at the end of October.
The head of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is appealing for countries to repatriate scores of foreign children who are stranded in northeast Syria in the wake of the Turkish-launched offensive which began last month.
Honorable Chairman, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
First, I extend thanks to our Qatari hosts from their warm hospitality and excellent arrangements for this meeting. I also want to express our solidarity with the Somali victims of the tragic flooding in Belet Weyne. The United Nations family — including the Office of the Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs and the World Food Program, among others —has responded swiftly to provide assistance, thanks to generous...