New York, 24 October 2021
Seventy-six years ago, the United Nations was created as a vehicle of hope for a world emerging from the shadow of catastrophic conflict.
Today, the women and men of the UN carry this hope forward around the globe.
COVID-19, conflicts, hunger, poverty and the climate emergency remind us that our world is...
A UN humanitarian aid flight destined for the capital of the Tigray region in northern Ethiopia, was forced to return to Addis Ababa due to airstrikes on Friday, raising “serious concerns” for the safety of staff working on the ground, said the UN’s Emergency Relief Coordinator, in a statement.
Thank you, Foreign Minister Mangoush, for the initiative of convening this international conference. That it takes place in Libya’s capital is a testament to the progress that Libya has achieved. It is my pleasure to represent the Secretary-General at this meeting,
The UN has actively worked towards facilitating the Libyan-led and Libyan-owned political, security and economic dialogues, with the support of the international community in the context of the Berlin process.
These dialogues must continue in order to sustain the momentum and ensure the full implementation of the Political Roadmap adopted by the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF). We urge all Libyan parties to exert every effort to hold parliamentary and presidential elections on 24 December 2021, as called for by the Roadmap and UN Security Council Resolutions 2570 and 2571.
On the political front, dialogue is needed to promote unity and support for the electoral process among all political actors. There is a need for compromise on a way forward. We commend the Presidential Council for its efforts to promote such dialogue. We call on all Libyan parties and institutions to refrain from any action that could undermine the electoral process or acceptance of its results.
The holding of timely, free and fair elections is critical to break the cycle of perennial political transitions, to return to political legitimacy and to put an end to foreign interference. The Libyan people want elections, and they want them now.
I urge all Member States and regional organizations to consider sending observation teams, in coordination with relevant Libyan authorities and institutions, to help ensure the credibility of the electoral process and acceptability of the results.
I also urge Libya’s leaders and institutions to ensure meaningful participation of women in the process and to ensure that women occupy at least 30 per cent of the seats in the new legislature.
The United Nations will continue providing technical assistance for the holding of elections in accordance with its mandate.
For a long time, Libya was governed by parallel institutions in the West and the East. Thanks to the work of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum, reunification of the country’s institutions was started.
We must not allow the approach of elections to reignite divisions.
The UN will continue supporting all efforts aimed at consolidating the progress achieved to date, including a unified government and a reunified and functioning House of Representatives.
Together with the African Union, we are also committed to supporting the Libyan authorities, including the High National Reconciliation Commission, in advancing rights-based reconciliation.
I commend the 5+5 Joint Military Commission for their unity of purpose on the security track, the JMC serves as an example for other national actors and institutions. Their Action Plan for the gradual, balanced, sequenced and synchronized withdrawal of all mercenaries, foreign fighters, and foreign forces is but the latest achievement of the 5+5.
The United Nations is ready to assist in consolidating international consensus to support the JMC in the implementation of the withdrawal plan.
Close coordination with Libya’s neighbours will be paramount to ensure that the plan is successful and that the withdrawal does not negatively impact the security situation in the region and the Sahel.
Disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) programmes and Security Sector Reform (SSR) will be needed to accompany this process. These efforts must be supported by the international community.
I am pleased to report that, in line with the request of the Libyan authorities and the mandate from the Security Council, the first group of UN monitors to support the Libyan-led ceasefire monitoring mechanism are arriving today. They will work in concert with the Libyan monitors assigned by the JMC.
Finally, the UN is extremely concerned with the dire situation of thousands of migrants and asylum seekers in Tripoli who remain in arbitrary detention or are living on the streets as a result of forced evictions and destruction of their homes by security forces in early October.
We welcome the Government’s announcement allowing the resumption of voluntary humanitarian evacuation and return flights from Libya for thousands of migrants and asylum seekers and call for the release from detention of the most vulnerable people and those with legal status.
We again offer our support to work with Libyan authorities to strengthen migration governance and border control in line with international law and obligations and in cooperation with international partners, notably the AU, LAS and EU.
Let me reassure you of the full commitment and continued support of the Secretary-General and the United Nations to Libya at this critical stage.
The process of drafting a new constitution for Syria has been “a big disappointment” UN Special Envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen concluded on Friday. Following the end of discussions in Geneva, a consensus on how to move forward was not achieved, he added.
We can no longer exclude half of humanity from international peace and security matters, the UN chief told the Security Council on Thursday, emphasizing the need to fully address the challenges and gaps that continue to prevent women having an equal say.
Speaking at a Security Council meeting on the situation in Africa’s Great Lakes region on Wednesday, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy, Huang Xia, told ambassadors that the countries concerned now stand “at a crossroads”.
Four children – three boys and a girl - were killed on Monday morning while travelling to school in northwest Syria, along with a teacher, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Wednesday.
State security forces in South Sudan have been responsible for imposing new and potentially arbitrary restrictions against the country’s most prominent civil society leaders, issuing “credible” death threats that have undermined peace efforts, UN-appointed independent rights experts said on Wednesday.
The UN Country Team in Myanmar remains “deeply concerned over the humanitarian impact” of the country’s ongoing crises stemming largely from the military coup in February, the UN Spokesperson said on Tuesday.
Political stagnation is “fuelling tensions, instability and a deepening sense of hopelessness”, the top UN official working towards peace in the Middle East warned the Security Council on Tuesday.
Another “shameful milestone” has been reached in the conflict in Yemen with 10,000 children killed or maimed since fighting started in March 2015, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Tuesday.
Statement of the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon on Women’s Representation in Politics
19 October 2021
The UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Ms. Joanna Wronecka encourages the discussion in Parliament of a gender quota in the upcoming elections. Women’s representation in politics is critical for an...
The United Nations has received alarming reports of aerial attacks in the residential areas of Tigray’s capital, Mekelle, on Monday morning local time.
The announcement last week of a unilateral ceasefire in the Central African Republic is among recent positive steps in the country, the top UN official there told the Security Council on Monday, urging continued support for peace and reconciliation efforts.
As part of the implementation of United Nations Security Council resolution 2349 (2017), the Special Representatives of the Secretary-General for Central and for Africa for West Africa and the Sahel, François Louncény FALL and Mahamat Saleh ANNADIF, will undertake from 18 to 22 October 2021, a joint high-level mission to Cameroon and Chad.
This mission is the first leg on a tour of the Lake Chad Basin countries...
FIGHT AGAINST BOKO HARAM: SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVES LOUNCENY FALL AND MAHAMAT ANNADIF BEGIN A JOINT HIGH-LEVEL VISIT TO CAMEROON AND CHAD
Dakar - Libreville, 18 October 2021 - As part of the implementation of United Nations Security Council resolution 2349 (2017), the Special Representatives of the Secretary-General...
The process of drafting a new constitution for Syria will begin this week, the UN Special Envoy for the country, Geir Pedersen, said on Sunday at a press conference in Geneva.
New York, 17 October 2021
Poverty is a moral indictment of our times.
For the first time in two decades, extreme poverty is on the rise.
Last year, around 120 million people fell into poverty as the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on economies and societies.
A lopsided recovery is further deepening inequalities...
UN Secretary-General António Guterres has welcomed the declaration of a unilateral ceasefire in the Central African Republic (CAR), his spokesperson said in a statement issued on Saturday.
The United Nations has condemned the deadly suicide bombing during Friday prayers at the largest Shia mosque in the city of Kandahar, in southern Afghanistan, which killed at least 30 people and wounded dozens more.
Tensions over vehicle licence plates and anti-smuggling operations, between authorities in Kosovo and Serbia, in recent weeks, may contribute to unravelling “steady but fragile progress made in rebuilding trust among communities” in Kosovo and Serbia.
New York, 15 October 2021
World Food Day is not only a reminder of the importance of food to every person on the planet — it is a call to action to achieve food security around the world.
Today, almost 40 per cent of humanity — three billion people — cannot afford a healthy diet.
Hunger is on the rise.
So too are undernourishment...
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday called for an immediate end to violence in Lebanon following deadly sectarian violence in the capital, Beirut, surrounding the on-going investigation into the August 2020 blasts in the port area.
A comprehensive negotiated political settlement is needed to end the violence in Yemen “once and for all”, UN Special Envoy Hans Grundberg told the Security Council on Thursday.
Statement of the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon on Today’s Developments
14 October, 2021
The UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Ms. Joanna Wronecka expressed her deep concern over the outbreaks of violence that took place in parts of Beirut today and resulted in several deaths and injuries. Condemning the use of armed violence outside of...
DPPA initiated an independent Mid-Term Review of its 2020-22 Strategic Plan to assess its progress towards achieving the goals outlined in the Plan and the extent to which the Plan has been central to its planning processes. The review puts forth ten recommendations covering areas related to strategic planning, results framework and funding instruments associated with DPPA. These recommendations will inform both the implementation of the current Plan and the development of DPPA’s new Plan.
The 54th round of the Geneva International Discussions (GID) took place on 12 and 13 October 2021, with requisite COVID-19 pandemic measures in place. The GID process continues to serve as the primary venue in which the consequences of conflict are addressed as mandated by the six-point ceasefire agreement of 2008.
The elements of “Comprehensive / human dimensions of security” were once again discussed at an information session in which participants exchanged views on the fears, wants and dignities of conflict-affected populations in a facilitated discussion.
Participants met in the GID’s two working groups, focused on security and humanitarian issues. The overall security situation on the ground was assessed as relatively stable, although participants brought attention to a number of outstanding issues, including ongoing detentions, unresolved missing persons cases, restrictions on freedom of movement and travel abroad, response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and specific security concerns. Discussions once again paid particular attention to the core agenda item of non-use of force and international security arrangements.
The Co-Chairs acknowledged the continued functioning of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) in Ergneti, including co-operative efforts over the summer on issues of water use, and emphasized the need to resume regular meetings of the Gali IPRM without further delay. The Co-Chairs welcomed the lifting of restrictions at the Enguri bridge and Saberio-Pakhulani crossing points and called for freedom of movement to be fully restored, in particular at the Odzisi crossing point.
Despite constructive engagement on a variety of humanitarian issues, a discussion on the core issue of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees could not take place due to a walkout by some participants, which disrupted the round.
The Co-Chairs again called on all participants to increase efforts to build trust and confidence among them and to address all elements of comprehensive security.
The participants agreed to hold their next meeting in Geneva on 7 and 8 December 2021.
Ladies and gentlemen.
It is a pleasure for me to address this special meeting of the Peacebuilding Commission. I am pleased to welcome Ms. Sima Bahous, newly appointed Executive Director of UN Women, and I am looking forward to working together in advancing the Women, Peace and Security Agenda.
We last gathered a year ago to mark the 20th anniversary of Security Council resolution 1325. A growing number of Member States have taken positive steps towards the objectives of the women, peace and security agenda since then. The work of women-led and women-focused organizations continues to inspire us. However, implementation gaps persist.
Slow progress in enhancing women’s role in peacebuilding and sustaining peace represents a major barrier to realizing the promise of the agenda. We have witnessed many political and peace processes that produced poor results because women were excluded from the negotiating table. This must change.
At the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA), we are determined to continue to seize opportunities to promote women’s full, equal and meaningful participation in peace and political processes and support gender-sensitive peacemaking and peacebuilding.
I would like to emphasize four areas of our work that are particularly relevant to today’s discussion.
First, we are constantly improving gender analysis to guide our work. Almost all special political missions included language highlighting gender issues and women’s role in their reports submitted to the Security Council. Eighty-eight per cent of them included recommendations on women, peace and security, a target that has been increasing gradually from 63 per cent in 2017. We also track gender-sensitive analysis as part of DPPA’s Strategic Plan’s results framework. Members of the Peacebuilding Commission have a role to play in further strengthening gender analysis in substantive discussions and outcome documents of the Commission.
Second, we not only support efforts to expand special measures for women, such as quotas, but also focus on the quality of women’s participation in political and peace processes, and peacebuilding initiatives. From Colombia to Syria and Yemen, we are exploring new pathways for participation through digital inclusion strategies and virtual consultations and engagement. In Sudan, the UN has supported women's participation in the peace talks between the Government of Sudan and SPLM-N in Juba, and secured the presence of gender experts inside the negotiation room. In Central Asia, our Regional Centre (UNRCCA) recently launched the first-ever caucus of women political leaders in the region. This informal coalition works towards promoting the role of women in supporting regional peace and security as well as advancing sustainable development. In Niger, the Peacebuilding Fund has supported local peace structures across 60 villages, mostly led by women mediators, seeing the peaceful resolution of local conflicts between farmers and herders.
In this regard, I am encouraged to see that PBC’s gender strategy and action plan led to creating space for women to share their experiences and make recommendations on the way forward. The presence today of civil society and academia representatives is a clear demonstration of that commitment.
Third, we are doing more to connect the dots between women’s participation and protection needs. Conflict-related sexual violence is a major challenge that deserves our attention. Similarly, we must address other forms of widespread gender-based violence and discrimination that specifically target women political activists, peacebuilders, and human rights defenders, particularly in conflict-affected environments. This becomes even more crucial with the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbating the very issues the Women, Peace and Security agenda was designed to address.
It is timely that the Peacebuilding Fund’s Gender and Youth Promotion Initiative (GYPI) has recently allocated a total of $19.2 million to protect women and youth peacebuilders and human rights defenders. It is also aligned with the Secretary-General’s Call to Action for Human Rights.
Fourth, we are advocating for adequate, predictable, sustained funding for women’s political participation. The Peacebuilding Fund sets a powerful example: For the third consecutive year the Fund allocated 40% of its annual investment towards gender equality and women’s empowerment. DPPA’s Multi-Year Appeal also dedicates at least 17% of its funding to projects entirely devoted to the Women, Peace and Security Agenda.
Today, we will hear stories that demonstrate the urgent need to make long term, flexible funds available to women peacebuilders. These examples are crucial as we prepare for the High-Level General Assembly Meeting on financing for peacebuilding next year.
We are alarmed over a deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, especially for women and girls. The UN has been supporting Afghan institutions and civil society to enhance women’s meaningful participation in Afghanistan’s political life, including the peacebuilding agenda. In 2015, Afghanistan adopted its first National Action Plan to implement Security Council Resolution 1325. UN colleagues in Afghanistan have been intensively engaged in supporting this process.
We must protect these gains. Therefore, we will continue appealing to the de facto authorities to fulfill their obligations under international law, including human rights and humanitarian law. Women must be able to continue to move freely, work and study. Girls must have the right to effective access to all levels of education.
There are no quick fixes to entrenched power politics, patriarchal attitudes and unequal social structures. We know that much more needs to be done, and we are committed to doing our part in enhancing women’s meaningful participation in public life.
In doing so, we will be guided by the report of the Secretary-General on Our Common Agenda, which renews our commitment to placing women and girls at the center of UN activities.
We need more women leaders to sustain peace. I encourage you to continue to amplify the voices of women peacebuilders, and to support their efforts. I look forward to hearing from all of you how we can continue to work together to make that happen.
Since the Joint Programme began in 2004, its cadre of PDAs has grown significantly. By year-end 2020, it reached a total of 106 advisors, national officers and international specialists, based in 64 countries, supporting more than 80 Resident Coordinators (RCs) and UN Country Teams (UNCTs) globally. In 2020, 37 Peace and Development teams were in place, with a growing pool of national PDAs, UNVs and secondees working together with international PDAs. In addition, six Regional Programme Specialists provided back-up support to PDAs and UNCTs and supported regional conflict analysis and sustaining peace efforts.
It is a pleasure for me to address this Committee and introduce the ninth report of the Secretary-General on “Overall policy matters pertaining to special political missions”. I am pleased to be joined by my colleague Atul Khare, Under-Secretary-General for Operational Support. His department plays a critical role in providing the operational support that special political missions require to discharge their mandates.
At the outset, I would like to thank Finland and Mexico for their continued leadership and engagement as co-facilitators of this agenda item.
I also want to express my appreciation to all Member States for their continued support to special political missions.
This year’s discussion comes at a critical juncture. As the Secretary-General noted in his report on Our Common Agenda, we are at an inflection point in history.
We are facing multiple, overlapping crises: the climate emergency; technological disruption; the evolving conflict landscape; and renewed global and strategic competition. Each of them is a source of significant stress, domestically, regionally and at the international level.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated many of these threats. It revealed our shared vulnerability, and serious limitations regarding global preparedness, cooperation and solidarity. The profound socio-economic implications of the pandemic remain a significant concern to us as a potential source of tension and instability.
The convergence of these threats has implications for international peace and security and for the effectiveness of the global peace and security architecture. They are also creating new demands for special political missions to adapt in order to better respond to this changing landscape.
This year’s report illustrated how special political missions, or SPMs, continued to play a critical role in supporting Member States to prevent, manage and resolve conflicts, despite a deteriorating global environment. Through their sustained diplomatic engagement, our missions are constantly looking to open political spaces for compromise, encouraging conflict parties to negotiate and resolve their differences peacefully.
Our work in Libya is a case in point. As a result of UNSMIL’s mediation efforts, the Libyan parties agreed to a national ceasefire in October 2020. It’s a significant milestone and one of the landmark successes in the context of the Secretary-General’s call for a global ceasefire.
UNSMIL subsequently facilitated the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum, which adopted a political road map in November 2020. Our mission continues to support Libyan stakeholders as they move towards the organization of presidential and parliamentary elections.
Similarly, our regional office for West Africa – UNOWAS – continues to see high demand for preventive diplomacy in the region.
It provides a platform that allows the United Nations to engage early with national authorities to prevent emerging crises from escalating and to address cross-border challenges.
Working side-by-side with ECOWAS as well as the African Union, the political engagement of UNOWAS in Burkina Faso, Guinea and Guinea-Bissau, to cite just a few examples, points to the added value of our regional presences.
In situations where significant challenges remain, such as Syria, Yemen and Myanmar, our Special Envoys are undeterred in the search for political solutions.
I would like to highlight three of the thematic issues addressed in this year’s report of the Secretary-General.
First, the women, peace and security agenda.
SPMs continue to play a vital role in promoting women’s meaningful participation in peace and political processes and in supporting gender responsive peacemaking and peacebuilding. This is not simply a moral commitment for us. It is smart.
Inclusion of women and other marginalized communities broadens the ownership of peace and political processes. It helps remedy structural inequalities and address the root causes of conflict, thus making peace agreements and transitions more durable.
In Lebanon, for example, the Office of the Special Coordinator is supporting the implementation of the country’s National Action Plan on Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) and promoting the greater political participation of women – both as voters and as candidates -- in the 2022 elections.
In Central Asia, our Regional Centre (UNRCCA) recently launched the first caucus of women political leaders in the region. This informal coalition works towards promoting and fostering the role of women in supporting regional peace and security as well as in advancing sustainable development.
In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, several SPMs found innovative ways to promote this agenda through strategies for digital inclusion and online engagement.
In Iraq, Libya and Yemen, our missions organized digital consultations with significant participation from youth and women. These dialogues helped us better understand their views and aspirations, and to reflect them in our work.
New technologies lowered access barriers for groups that are traditionally excluded from decision-making. We see a great promise in them for our efforts to promote women’s meaningful participation in political processes, even post-Covid.
Second, the promotion of regional approaches to peace and security.
We know that many of the challenges our SPMs face are not confined to the borders of a single State. To address issues such as regionalized conflict, the proliferation of small arms, or the security implications of climate change, we must build truly regional responses.
A number of special political missions have regional mandates. They have been at the forefront of designing and implementing regional, multidisciplinary responses to a range of peace and security issues. Strengthening the UN’s partnerships with regional and subregional organizations, which remain an important pillar of our work to maintain international peace and security.
A recent example is the work of the Special Envoy for the Great Lakes, who is spearheading the implementation of the UN Strategy for Peace Consolidation, Conflict Prevention and Conflict Resolution in the region.
The Strategy serves as an important vehicle to help Member States engage in dialogue, improve their relations, and enhance regional cooperation. The Strategy is organized around three broad areas of work: (i) peace, security and justice; (ii) sustainable development and shared prosperity; (iii) and resilience to longstanding and emerging challenges. These areas reflect the strategy’s multidimensional focus.
Similarly, in the Horn of Africa, the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General is working to advance implementation of the comprehensive regional prevention strategy during a particularly challenging moment in the region. The Office of the Special Envoy has worked closely with IGAD to support ongoing mediation processes and enhance subregional capacities to address cross-border and cross-cutting issues.
Third, peacebuilding and sustaining peace.
In 2016, the twin resolutions of the General Assembly and the Security Council on sustaining peace ushered a new vision centered on prevention. They recognized that the human and financial cost of focusing primarily on crisis response was unsustainable and called on all of us to reorient our strategies towards a more holistic response, which links our peace and security work with the 2030 Agenda.
Through their integrated work with UN Country Teams and Resident Coordinators, SPMs play an important role in operationalizing this commitment, in support of nationally-owned peacebuilding priorities. The Peacebuilding Fund has been instrumental in backing these efforts. In 2020, the Fund directed $25.3 million in new approvals to countries where special political missions are deployed.
In Guinea-Bissau, where the closure of our special political mission last year created significant funding gaps, the PBF approved $4 million to support transition priorities. They include support to the political reform agenda, inclusive dialogue and the fight against drug trafficking and organized crime.
In Somalia, where the Secretary-General renewed the country’s eligibility for PBF funding for another five years, we are now supporting reconciliation, justice, governance, and women’s empowerment.
Ensuring sustainable financing for these activities remains a critical need, and I am looking forward to the General Assembly High-Level Meeting on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace scheduled during its 76th session.
I also want to express my gratitude for the engagement of the Peacebuilding Commission on the work of SPMs, particularly in bringing its perspectives and views as part of its advisory role to the Security Council.
I would like to take this opportunity to brief the Committee on some of the challenges faced by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), our largest SPM, with roughly 4,000 staff members, 11 field offices and 2 liaison offices.
Afghanistan has entered a new phase with the turn of events on 15 August. The country was already confronted with multiple challenges: political, security, economic, and, most urgently, humanitarian.
Today, after decades of war and insecurity, the people of Afghanistan are facing perhaps their most perilous hour. They are looking to the international community to protect the gains made over the past two decades in education, health care and the participation of women in public life. They want their lives and livelihood, as well as basic rights and freedoms, to be protected. They want a life without fear. They want a future for their children.
UNAMA’s mandate was extended until 17 March 2022. The Security Council requested the Secretary-General to brief the Council every other month and to submit operational and strategic recommendations by the end of January. We will be evaluating the new situation carefully and consulting closely with relevant stakeholders as we move forward. The United Nations is committed to continue to deliver for the Afghan people while upholding our values.
I hope that the report of the Secretary-General, and my remarks today, help illustrate how special political missions represent a central plank in the United Nations’ peace and security work. By working to detect crises early and defuse tensions, help conflict parties achieve negotiated solutions, and support Member States in building sustainable peace, special political missions remain indispensable.
In closing, I would like to pay a special tribute to the United Nations personnel serving in special political missions, working often under very challenging conditions – particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic – to advance the promise of the Charter.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, distinguished delegates,
On behalf of the Secretary-General, I have the honour to introduce the report: Strengthening the role of the United Nations in enhancing periodic and genuine elections and the promotion of democratization (A/76/266). In line with General Assembly resolution 74/158 of 18 December 2019, the report reviews developments in the field of elections and United Nations electoral assistance to Member States over the last two years.
During this period, the United Nations assisted, at their request or based on a Security Council mandate, more than 60 Member States in conducting elections. In response to challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, we adjusted our work processes to the needs of Member States, as required.
I am particularly pleased – and humbled – that so many Member States call upon us to support them in fulfilling such a fundamental responsibility. Genuine elections give people a real say in how their countries are run. Democratic legitimacy and authority depend on the conduct of credible, fair, transparent and participatory polls.
As before, UN electoral assistance was provided to Member States as a system-wide endeavour involving the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, the Department of Peace Operations, UN missions on the ground, and the United Nations Development Programme. Other UN partners include the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights; UN Women; UNESCO; and UNOPS. In non-mission settings, Resident Coordinators have provided strategic leadership and facilitated coherence of electoral assistance by UN country teams.
The Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs is designated by the General Assembly as the UN focal point for electoral assistance. In carrying out this mandate, I strive to ensure system-wide coordination and coherence among these partners. Beyond the UN, we strengthened partnerships with regional and subregional organizations, and promoted South-South and triangular cooperation during this period. For example:
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Member States faced difficult choices in deciding whether and how to proceed with scheduled elections. This meant navigating complex legal, political, and public health considerations.
Globally, the crisis drew attention to the fragility of the foundations on which credible elections are built. But this is an opportunity for Member States to reflect on what makes these foundations vulnerable and how to reinforce them. Future decisions that have a significant impact on an electoral process – such as a postponement in the face of a public health crisis – should involve broad consultation across the political spectrum, with the aim of reaching consensus.
Online tools have enabled participation in elections on an unprecedented scale. But they have also been used to spread disinformation and hate speech and incite violence. Political leaders have a role to play in tackling these harmful uses of online platforms and social media during elections. Moreover, government may adopt regulatory responses to hate speech that are carefully balanced against fundamental freedoms and rights.
Furthermore, social media companies can play a role in developing policies to monitor and address online harassment and hate speech, in line with international human rights law. Leaders are encouraged to mutually agree on, or voluntarily commit to, standards of responsible leadership during electoral processes, including with regard to online activities.
While the number of women elected or appointed to decision-making positions has risen, much more needs to be done. According to data maintained by the Interparliamentary Union, women’s representation in lower or single houses of parliament worldwide is only just over 25%.
Accelerating women’s full and effective participation in public life requires a renewed commitment. In certain contexts, temporary special measures, such as gender quotas, have been successful in increasing women’s representation to elected office. Moreover, concrete steps are needed to prevent and respond to violence against women in politics; new forms of harassment and violence against women, including online, continue to emerge, particularly so during elections.
We actively engage in advocacy and advise on temporary special measures.
Mr. Chairman, distinguished delegates,
Let me conclude by saying that United Nations experience reaffirms that electoral assistance works best when it is part of a coherent strategy combining technical support and political engagement and is able to draw on adequate donor support. Defusing tension around elections and encouraging dialogue and political consensus are part of comprehensive approaches to building conducive election environments.
We look forward to working closely with you as we continue supporting Member States in conducting their electoral processes.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Inclusion is fundamental to rebuild societies in the wake of war and achieve durable peace, UN Secretary-General told world leaders, ambassadors and prominent global citizens meeting in the Security Council on Tuesday.
The humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan is worsening and funding for emergency aid is urgently needed to help 20 million people there, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said on Tuesday.