As crises rage, international discourse is still “the sole hope” for peace

Date:

As crises rage, international discourse is still "the sole hope" for peace

  • news by AUN News correspondent
  • Thursday, December 29, 2022
  • AUN News – ISSN: 2949-8090

Summary:

  • Perhaps more impressive is that the agreement was extended for another 120 days in November, despite the absence of confidence between Ukraine and Russia and the lack of hope for a cease-fire.

  • Gema Cortes and MINUSMAAfrica: Conflict rages on in the DRC and Mali, while there is hope for peace in Sudan and EthiopiaThis year, UN forces serving as a deterrent to violence for civilians in several African nations came under attack.

  • The country was still plagued by warfare in 2022, six years after the landmark peace agreement was struck between the Colombian government and the FARC insurgents.

  • An October launch over Japan was referred to as “reckless conduct” by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who also said that a long-range test in March was in breach of Security Council resolutions.

  • Overall, the DPRK launched over 60 ballistic missiles, according to Ms. Di Carlo.

As it became increasingly apparent that Russia intended to invade Ukraine, a situation that UN Secretary-General António Guterres described as testing the “entire international system” sparked a furious round of diplomacy at the UN in February.

“Restraint and logic are required. The UN chief emphasised the need for de-escalation and pleaded with all parties to “refrain from acts and remarks that might push this grave situation to the breaking point.” However, these appeals went unanswered, and the conflict—which Russia referred to as a “special military operation”—began.

Ukraine war’s effects on the world: from food and fuel to a nuclear threat

Beyond its impact on Russia and Ukraine, the conflict gained significance. In a globe still dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic’s aftereffects, global fuel and food prices skyrocketed, and the UN trade authority UNCTAD named the war the primary cause of estimates of a global economic downturn.

When the largest nuclear power facility in Europe, the Zaporizhzhia plant in southeast Ukraine, fell under Russian military control, bad memories of the 1986 Chornobyl nuclear power plant explosion were returned.

The UN nuclear watchdog (IAEA) expressed concern over the plant’s frightening state and the shelling close to the reactors, warning of possibly catastrophic repercussions. Rafael Grossi, the head of the IAEA, said in November that fighting close to a nuclear station was “playing with fire.”

In Istanbul, UN Secretary-General António Guterres observes the WFP ship SSI Invincible 2, headed to Ukraine to pick up the largest cargo of grain yet exported under the Black Sea Grain Initiative.
UN Image by Mark Garten

A beacon of hope for easing human suffering: the UN grain deal

The successful implementation of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which saw exports resume from Ukrainian ports in July and paved the way for Russian food and fertiliser to reach global markets, was unquestionably a high point of UN diplomacy this year. This helped to moderate the vertiginous rise in the price of grains, cooking oils, fuel, and fertiliser worldwide.

A Joint Coordination Centre in Istanbul, Turkey, comprising representatives from Ukraine, Russia, and Turkey, was set up as part of the delicately poised agreement to oversee the onloading of grain at the three ports.

The ships are guided by Ukrainian pilot ships through the mined Black Sea before leaving along a predetermined route through the Bosphorus Strait.

Perhaps more impressive is that the agreement was extended for another 120 days in November, despite the absence of confidence between Ukraine and Russia and the lack of hope for a cease-fire. By then, Ukraine had exported more than 11 million tonnes of critical supplies, and food prices had started to level.

A United Nations peacekeeper in Mali is on patrol in the country's northern region of Kidal.
Gema Cortes and MINUSMA

Africa: Conflict rages on in the DRC and Mali, while there is hope for peace in Sudan and Ethiopia

This year, UN forces serving as a deterrent to violence for civilians in several African nations came under attack.

Over the year, Mali’s reputation as the most hazardous posting in the world appeared to be confirmed: some attacks killed or injured peacekeepers virtually every month, along with rumours of mass killings of civilians and a deteriorating security situation.

Attacks from terrorist groups and intercommunal violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) resulted in the displacement of thousands of people. Throughout the year, hundreds of civilians perished, and peacekeepers once more paid the ultimate price. Three peacekeepers were killed in one attack on the UN Mission’s base in the unrest-ridden North Kivu province in July.

Better news came out of Sudan, where political upheaval had started the year after a military coup in 2021. The UN denounced an excessive use of force that resulted in the deaths of numerous protesters, still targeted by the regime.

However, a peace accord between civilian and military leaders was hailed by Mr. Guterres by December, and the UN team in Sudan declared that they would guarantee a package of help during the transitional period.

A truce was enacted in March in Ethiopia, where violent violence has been centred on the Tigray region. Even though the unrest’s humanitarian crisis and violence did not end as a result, Mr. Guterres described the peace agreement that was finally signed in November as a “important first step” in ending the brutal two-year civil conflict.

Destroyed buildings in Aleppo city, Syria, where chemical weapons were allegedly used. (file)
Ninja Charbonneau for UNICEF

No resolution is in sight for many ongoing crises in the Middle East

As Syria enters its eleventh year of a terrible civil conflict in which 307,000 civilians have been killed, Mr. Guterres urged the international community to support the Syrian people.

The UN Special Envoy to Syria, Geir Pedersen, continued to meet with various important Syrian and international stakeholders as the year ended despite indications of military escalation and the absence of hope for a peace agreement. His goal was to find a political solution to end the impasse.

Yemen’s tragic conflict, which is in its seventh year and has again taken a terrible toll on its people, is now in its seventh year. When the UN successfully negotiated the first statewide ceasefire in six years in April, hopes were aroused. But the cease-fire ended in October, creating new uncertainty.

In October, UN Special Envoy to Yemen Hans Grundberg expressed his optimism that a peace accord might still be reached to the Security Council, saying, “With the stakes this high, we mustn’t lose this opportunity. The sides must exhibit the initiative, flexibility, and compromise necessary to reach a consensus quickly.

In a year in which more than 150 Palestinians and over 20 Israelis died in Israel and the West Bank, relations between Israel and Palestine made little headway.

Tor Wennesland, the UN representative for the Middle East, voiced grave worry about the rapid rise in violence against civilians on both sides, which he claimed hampered efforts at a peaceful settlement.

Mr. Wennesland urged Israel to halt all settlement expansion efforts and the destruction of Palestinian-owned property to avoid potential uprooting and eviction situations. He cautioned that the “deepening occupation, the rise in violence, including terrorism, and the lack of a political horizon have strengthened extremists and are destroying faith among Palestinians and Israelis that a resolution to the issue is feasible.”

People are protesting on the streets of  Port-au-Prince in crisis-torn Haiti.
U.S. CDC, Roger LeMoyne, and UNICEF

Americas: Colombia is getting closer to long-term peace; Haiti is “on the brink of the abyss”

It’s difficult to stress how badly Haiti’s security deteriorated in 2022. Rival gangs fought for territory while frightening increasingly helpless residents who were already battling to survive a humanitarian crisis in the capital city of Port-au-Prince.

In October, the UN Special Representative in the nation, Helen La Lime, praised the Security Council’s sanctions policy, which targets gang leaders and those who support them. Even if a political solution could be reached, she told the Security Council, it would not be enough to resolve the problem.

The US Permanent Representative to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, told the Security Council in October that the US and Mexico are working on a resolution that will authorise a “non-UN international security assistance mission,” which would help in the delivery of critically needed humanitarian aid. Ms. La Lime indicated her support for mobilising a specialised military force.

There were encouraging indications that Colombia, which endured decades of civil bloodshed, might be close to establishing a stable peace.

The country was still plagued by warfare in 2022, six years after the landmark peace agreement was struck between the Colombian government and the FARC insurgents. In July, the UN human rights office urged the incoming administration to address the escalating bloodshed, especially in rural areas.

By the end of October, the head of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia was self-assured enough to inform the Security Council that there were high hopes for advancements toward the complete implementation of a lasting peace agreement: “I am certainly confident that Colombia can demonstrate to the world, once again, that there is no better alternative to ending conflicts than through dialogue.”

Afghan civilian deaths drop but attacks on women, children and political targets rise.

Iason Nikolas Footen for UNAMA

Asia: Nuclear tension in Korea, many Afghan attacks

Although the Taliban, the de facto rulers of the nation, has been the subject of much attention, security has been a growing concern.

From bombings at schools in April to the bombing of a mosque in August, the Afghan people have been shaken by waves of fatal terrorist assaults claimed by the so-called Islamic State group, also known as Da’esh. The group also attacked a hotel that was heavily populated by Chinese nationals, as well as the embassies of Pakistan and Russia.

In December, Roza Otunbayeva, the chief UN representative in Afghanistan, declared that despite the Taliban commanders’ various stances, the UN is maintaining a line of communication with them. She claimed that although the Taliban face little to no political opposition, they cannot effectively combat terrorist organisations in the nation.

North Korea, also known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), continued to test missiles in 2022, drawing criticism from the UN and suspicions that it was trying to build up its nuclear weapons capabilities.

An October launch over Japan was referred to as “reckless conduct” by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who also said that a long-range test in March was in breach of Security Council resolutions.

The head of UN Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA), Rosemary Di Carlo, said that the DPRK had launched its “biggest and most powerful missile, capable of reaching all of North America” in a Security Council briefing in November.

Overall, the DPRK launched over 60 ballistic missiles, according to Ms. Di Carlo. She urged the nation to “cease taking additional provocative acts and fully comply with its international duties under relevant Security Council decisions.”

Secretary-General António Guterres addresses the UN Security Council open debate on peacebuilding and sustaining peace.By Eskinder Debebe for the UN

New UN peace initiatives

When UN Secretary-General António Guterres presents Member States with A New Agenda for Peace in 2023, the larger question of peace is expected to take centre stage on the UN agenda.

In a speech to the Security Council in December, Mr. Guterres explained that the document would outline the Organization’s efforts to promote peace and security, lay out a comprehensive prevention strategy, link peace, sustainable development, climate action, and food security, and take into account how the UN responds to cyber threats, information warfare, and other types of conflict.

The challenge, according to Mr. Guterres, is to revive multilateralism and make it functional, representative, and inclusive to protect future generations from the scourge of war.

Share post:

Subscribe

spot_imgspot_img

Popular

More like this
Related

Despite conflict and court rulings, Israel’s defiance and diplomatic dilemmas persist

Summary: The news article examines Israel's defiance of a court...

Policy Evaluation: Navigating the Landscape of Evidence-Based Decision-Making

News by AUN News correspondent Monday, May 06, 2024 AUN News –...

Escalating Diplomatic Crisis: Allegations of Chemical Weapon Use in Ukraine Spark Global Concern

News by AUN News correspondent Thursday, May 02, 2024 AUN News –...

Pacific International Labor Day: A Snapshot of Labor Conditions Amidst Conflict

News by AUN News Editorial desk Wednesday, May 01, 2024 AUN...