Creating Spaces for Peace




The Permanent Mission of Brazil and the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) Section, the Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions (OROLSI), and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) co-organized the discussion of the tenth anniversary of the Community Violence Reduction (CVR) programs in United Nations Peacekeeping Missions. Initially, member states expressed little interest in funding the programs. However, Norway tremendously bolstered the program and gave 200,000 dollars, which may set an important precedent for other worldwide donors. Hervé Ladsous stated that CVR programs protect citizens in several African countries north of Mali, as governmental presence is limited in many local communities.

Mr. Atul Khare expressed that the CVR is a positive precedent to similar programs that promote peacekeeping. Mr. Dmitry Titov added that CVR programs contributed to peaceful elections in central Africa and brought balance into the political process. Ms. Bintou Keita launched educational programs in North Darfur, which give students tools for peaceful interaction to counter violence in their surroundings. Mr. Rubem Cesar Fernandes stated that in areas with CVR programming, there were 16 deaths per every 100,000 people in the region. He expressed that this is an important decrease in unnecessary death and a progressive step towards peace. Ambassador H.E. Sergio de Queiroz Duarte closed the meeting and stated that CVR works to foster commuity stability. CVR is extremely helpful in peacekeeping operations running smoothly and fulfilling mandates successfully. H.E. Mr. Duarte expressed that it is time to build upon existing work for global peace.

Meeting: “Creating Space for Peace: Tenth anniversary of Community Violence Reduction (CVR) Programs in United Nations Peacekeeping Missions”

Date/ Location: Wednesday, 16 November 2016; 10:00 to 13:00; Conference Room 4

Speakers: Mr. Edmond Mulet, Chef De Cabinet, Executive Office of the Secretary, General (EOSG); Mr. Hervé Ladsous, Department of Peacekeeping Operations (USG DPKO); Mr. Atul Khare, Department of Field Support (USG DFS); Mr. Dmitry Titov, Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions Inside of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO OROLSI); Ms. Bintou Keita, Deputy Joint Special Representative United Nations Mission in Darfur (DJSR UNAMID); Mr. Rubem Cesar Fernandes, Viva Rio; H.E. Sergio de Queiroz Duarte, DPR Brazil

Written By: Sophia Kotik, WIT Representative

‘2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Sustaining Peace’


Sustainable peace and development positively reinforce each other. The joint meeting provided an opportunity to explore links between the 2030 Agenda and sustaining peace, particularly with regard to global targets of creating peaceful and inclusive societies, providing just and accountable institutions, as well as the drivers of conflict.

Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is predicted to be most difficult in conflict-affected countries where the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were lagging further behind. Extreme poverty is increasingly concentrated in conflict-affected areas and leaving no one behind will require concerted efforts across the United Nations to deliver as one.

African countries richest in natural resources tend to be characterized by great inequality, which drives conflicts that consequently inhibit social development. Uneducated and unemployed youth is a common characteristic across countries experiencing conflict. Resolving conflicts through peacebuilding as well as reconciling social contracts between governments and civil society can lead to resilient and secure states in which development occurs.

Meeting: Economic and Social Council and Peacebuilding Commission Meeting on the ‘2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Sustaining Peace’

Date/Time/Location: June 24, 2016; 10:00 – 13:00; Economic and Social Council Chamber

Speakers: H.E. Mr. Oh Joon, President of the Economic and Social Council; H.E. Mr. Mancharia Kamau, Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission; H.E. Mr. Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations; Dr. Carlos Lopes, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa; H.E. Mr. David Donoghue, Permanent Representative of Ireland to the United Nations; H.E. Ms. Annika Söder, State Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sweden; H.E. Mr. Juan Sandoval Mendiolea, Deputy Permanent Representative of Mexico to the United Nations; H.E. Ms. Gillian Bird, Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations

Written By: Lena Courcol

Security Council Meeting on the Democratic Republic of Congo and Syria

The Security Council Chamber held its 7659th meeting. The meeting was on the
adoption of the agenda regarding the situation concerning the Democratic Republic of the
Congo Report of the Secretary-General. The council voted on the draft of the resolution,
and it received 15 votes in favor. Thus, the draft had been adopted unanimously.

The President of the Security Council then gave the floor to the representative of the
Democratic Republic of Congo. The representative first gave thanks to the delegation for
the knowledge and competence they had in this task. He discussed two issues: elections
and the fight against armed groups in the region. With regard to elections, he stated that
the country intends to run elections that are in line with the standard of the international
community. The representative noted that the government is pursuing the eradication of
armed groups to allow a peaceful life for its people. However, this can only be achieved
with the support of all countries in the region. In addition, the representative said we must recognize that noncooperation of countries in the region is a danger that could
compromise these efforts. After the representative gave his statement, the President adjourned the meeting.

Shortly after, the Security Council held its 7660th meeting on the adoption of the agenda regarding the situation in the Middle East. The President gave the floor to Mr. O’Brien, and he said that there has been much progress on humanitarian access in Syria. Since the beginning of the year, the UN has reached 150,000 people through convoys. However, he noted that this is only a first step to what is required. Humanitarian conditions remain dire, and there are still 4.6 million people who are in need of assistance. After the briefing from Mr. O’Brien, the President adjourned the meeting.

Meeting: Security Council: 7659th meeting; 7660th meeting

Date/Location: Wednesday March 30, 2016, 10:00 –10:30; Security Council


Speakers: Representative of the Democratic Republic of Congo; Mr. Stephen

O’Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief


Written By: WIT Representative Kangho (Paul) Jung

Edited By: WIT Representative Alexander Margolick

Photo Credit: Stan Honda/AF

The Disconnect Between Religion and Extremism

This meeting was held to discuss the issues surrounding extremism, particularly religious extremism.

Dr. Hamad started by noting political and economic improvements relate to the establishment of peace and increasing how long peace lasts.

Dr. Tangara mentioned how the enemy, in this case ISIS, is more sophisticated than many acknowledge. ISIS has taken to attacking societies by attacking their culture. Additionally, he stated that it is important to replace the ancient education that tends to have xenophobic ideals.

Mrs. Lodico commented on the importance of separation of state from religion, and of religion from state. She noted how the world lacks enlightenment, contributing to the number of jihadists. Finally, she discussed how social media has played a proliferating part in the spread of ISIS Propaganda. She said that they began with a single propaganda video, and since then their social media presence has only decreased. Additionally, she pointed out how Nazis never celebrated the genocides that they perpetrated, and yet ISIS has streamed their atrocities thanks to their access to social media. Finally, she stated that fights against ISIL needed to be holistic.

Dr. Durbak noted that Dr. Al-Suwaidi’s book exposed the exploitation of Islam by ISIS. She stated how individuals fell into ISIS as a result of issues in their environments, and pointed out how the uneven distribution of resources can lead to exploitation, powerlessness, and distress.

Reverend Dr. Thomas noted the similarities between some concept of mirages and the story of Jesus in the bible. He pointed out that in extremism, there is a disconnect between religion and reality, and noted that extremism is not confined to any particular region.

Meeting: Forum on “Extremism-A threat and a challenge that needs to be addressed”

Date/Location: Thursday, April 7, 2016; 10:00-12:00, Conference Room 8

Speakers: Dr. Tageldin Hamad, Secretary General, World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations; H.E. Dr. Mamadou Tangara, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of The Gambia to the UN; Mrs. Yvonne Lodico, Founder Grace Initiative, Former Director, UN Institute for Training and Research, NY; Dr. Christine Durbak, Chair and CEO World Information Transfer; Rev. Dr. Douglas Thomas, Adjunct Professor of Religion at Lincoln University, Oxford, Pennsylvania; H.E. Dr. Jamal Sanad Al-Suwaidi, Director General of the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR)

Written By: WIT Representative Olivia Gong

Edited By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Religion’s Essential Role in Peacekeeping

Archbishop Dieudonne Nzapalainga of Bangui, Central African Republic, right, walks with Imam Oumar Kobine Layama, center, in Bangui, after a meeting of religious representatives, Bangui residents and African and French peacekeeping forces Feb. 10.  (CNS photo/Luc Gnago, Reuters)

This meeting was to discuss the positives and negatives of religious faith, its role in violence and peace, and how leaders of faith can promote peace.

Following opening remarks by Mr. Brez, Father Landry began by noting two common objections on faith. He stated that he felt faith-based organizations should be as important as education when it comes to the prevention of conflict. He also noted that individuals dispute whether religion is a force of peace or violence, but to him, it is definitely not the latter. He then said that secondhand knowledge of religion and religious convictions can be misleading and can spiral into endless negativity.

Next, Mr. Hodes noted how religious leaders have two options in the face of conflict. They may bring peace, or they may use conflict for leverage to gain support from the masses. He said that it is not a question of whether religion is positive or negative, but a question of how it is being used.

Mr. Flynn stated the importance of continuing to fight extremism, and went on to note the importance of youth in Security Council Resolution 2250.

Dr. Karam said she saw religion not as potential for evil, but for healing, and then went on to say how breaking the glass ceiling required honesty. She stressed the importance of the UN goals of human rights, peace and security, and sustainable development. She then said that although individuals speak on religion and culture as distinct qualities, they are more often than not intertwined.

Reverend Breyer spoke on the tension that often exists between Muslims and followers of other religions. Finally, Revered Kazanijian noted that instead of active violence, organizations should seek to establish active dialogue. He stressed the importance of establishing cohesive relationships.

Meeting: Thursday DPI Briefing for NGOs-Focusing on faith series: Promoting peace and reconciliation to counter violent extremism

Date/Location: Thursday, February 4, 2016; 11:00-12:30; Conference Room 1

Speakers: Mr. Jeffrey Brez, Chief of NGO Relations, Advocacy and Special Events in the Department of Public Information; Father Roger Landry, priest of the Diocese of Fall River, attache at the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the U.N; Matthew Hodes, Director of the United Nations Alliance of Civilization; Mr. Edward J. Flynn, Senior Human Rights Officer at the Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate; Dr. Azza Karam, Senior Advisor on Culture and Social Development at the United Nations Population Fund; Rev. Chloe Breyer, Director of The Interfaith Center of New York; Rev. Victor H. Kazanjian Jr. Executive Director of the United Religions Initiative

Written By: WIT Representative Olivia Gong

Edited By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

Photo Credit: CNS photo/Luc Gnago, Reuters

Calling All Women to Reinforce Peace

Today’s meeting focused on updating the audience on the various initiatives undertaken since the first Outreach Roundtable on March 31, 2015. The speakers mentioned that there has been success in recruiting talent, specifically women, into UN peacekeeping and political missions. The current civilian staff is made up of 167 nationalities with the average age of 46 years and the average time in service at 4.6 years. 70% of the staff is men and 90% of the staff is located in non-family duty stations. The speakers stressed that there is still a need to recruit more senior women into “non-traditional” field careers such as aviation, logistics, and engineering.

One of the initiatives launched has been the Careers E-library, which is a part of the broader communication campaign “What Are You Doing For Peace?” The E-library contains a series of leaflets designed to showcase the wide range of career options within the UN. The UN also has created a talent pipeline of women for senior positions in peacekeeping and special political missions. Women who have at least 15 years of relevant professional experience, a Master’s degree or higher, fluency in English and/or French as well as Arabic and expertise in conflict management, mediation, political analysis, public/strategic communication, and rule of law and security institutions are encouraged to apply.

The targeted and regionalized outreach material was developed to attract the right candidates and was well received. In order to move towards a more collaborative hiring process, the speakers encouraged the attendees to reach out to senior women who may be right for the positions available.

Meeting: Round table on “Dialogue between the Field Personnel Division (FPD) and Member States regarding opportunities for civilians in peace operations, with particular emphasis on suitably qualified and experienced female candidates” (organized by the Field Personnel Division (FPD), Department of Field Support (DFS))

Speakers: Dr. Chhaya Kapilashrami, Director, Field Personnel Division, Department of Field Support; Ms. Margarete Sobrai, Chief Outreach and Workforce Planning Section, Field Personnel Division, Department of Field Support; Ms. Cristina Carrion, Minister and Deputy Representative, Permanent Mission of Uruguay to the United Nations; Mr. Rafael Barbieri, Training Officer, Integrated Training Services Division of Policy, Evaluation and Training, Department of Peacekeeping Operations and Department of Field Support; Ms. Andreina Botto, Chief Outreach Unit, Field Personnel Division, Department of Field Support

Written By: WIT Representative Tania Makker

Edited By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

Photo Credit: NATO

Preventing Escalation in Burundi


    Mr. Feltman opened the meeting noting serious implications for stability and ethnic harm in Burundi and perhaps regionally. This is based on the number of reported politically motivated killings and attacks increasing daily. There are nightly exchanges of gunshots and explosions and frequently discovered mutilated bodies. Two UN staff members have been killed in the last three weeks. The police have the right to use “all available means” to find illegally possessed arms. The president’s ultimatum has caused 280,000 displaced refugees across the Great Lakes region. To resolve this situation, Burundi needs to address the political deadlock. The Secretary-General will announce a special advisor who will focus on preventing Burundian violence. He calls on Burundian leaders to cease violence, hate-speech, and separating the East African community.

    Mr. al Hussein spoke next about the potential for serious regional repercussions. 240 people have been killed since protests began in April. The current crisis has already undone much of Burundi’s economic, political and social progress.

   Mr. Dieng pointed out that the language being used by the ruling party is similar to the Rwandan government’s prior to the notorious genocide. He requested a peacekeeping mission to protect civilians. “We will not be able to claim, if a full scale conflict erupts, that we didn’t know.”

   The Burundian Minister disputed these claims, saying that his country is calm besides certain spots within the capital. In two months, their commitment is to bring peace to the country and they have succeeded in 91% of the country. Burundi wishes to continue the “good neighborliness” between them and neighboring countries during this “time of turbulence”. The concerns about Burundi are founded and justified, but all must do their utmost to ensure the lasting peace in the area.

Meeting: Security Council, 7552nd Meeting

Time/Location: 15:00-16:30, Security Council Chamber

Speakers: Under-Secretary-General Jeffrey Feltman; Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, High Commissioner for Human Rights; Jürg Lauber, Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the United Nations; H.E. Ambassador Tete Antonio, African Union Permanent Representative to the United Nations; Mr. Adama Dieng, Special Advisor to UN on Genocide; Minister of External and Internal Relations of Burundi; Representative from Uganda

Written by: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

Peacekeeping in the Post-2015 Agenda (Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations)

width_650.height_300.mode_FillAreaWithCrop.pos_Default.color_WhiteThe Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations discussed what aspects of peacekeeping should be addressed in the post-2015 agenda.

Kazakhstan stated that the peacekeeping mandate needed to shift from being purely military to include non-military, food, and energy security; the Filipino representative also desired consideration for disease control. Kazakhstan called for the participation of women and consideration of differing ideologies and cultures in missions. The Zambian Permanent Representative echoed these sentiments while paying particular attention to the protection of civilians.

The Permanent Representative of Bhutan supported India’s proposal for a memorial to honor the sacrifices of deceased peacekeepers. Bhutan called for the integration of medical technology and aerial assets in operations. The representative looked forward to the annual report of the High Level Independent Panel on Peacekeeping for practical suggestions.

The Bangladeshi Permanent Representative hoped for effective communication channels between the Secretariat, Security Council, troop contributing countries (TCCs), foreign military contingents, and peacekeepers. Bangladesh pointed towards educating peacekeepers on dealing with specific demographics, having conducted child interaction training with peacekeepers last year.

Japan highlighted the importance of financial sustainability and longer training to increase efficacy.

The Venezuelan, Nepalese, and El Salvadorian representatives stated that force should be a last resort. Venezuela stated that an offensive mandate must respect the UN charter and cannot allow peacekeepers to abuse their legal immunity. However, he also noted that sending poorly equipped peacekeepers to carry out clearly unachievable mandates is counterproductive. To that end, El Salvador called for the recruitment of new TCCs and for their involvement in all stages of mandate drafting.

Algeria and Serbia were concerned of the increasing correlation between peacekeeper casualties and terrorist activity. The former supported training on organized crime and drug trafficking. He also advocated for regional decision-making, referring to the African Union as a successful precedent.

Meeting: Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations 2015 Substantive Session – 241st meeting
Date & Location: 18 February 2015. Conference Room 2, United Nations Headquarters, New York
Written By WIT Representative: Alis Yoo
Edited By WIT Representative: Philip Bracey