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Department of Political Affairs

DPA newsletter surveys political challenges and achievements amid continuing turbulence

Summer/Fall edition of DPA's Politically Speaking newsletter In the new issue of its bi-annual bulletin Politically Speaking, the Department of Political Affairs illustrates how United Nations mediators and political and peacebuilding missions are working in complex environments in areas of tension around the world to prevent conflict and bolster peace.

Most conflicts are political in nature and require political solutions, underlines Under-Secretary-General Jeffrey Feltman in an overview article on UN diplomacy in today’s crises. Yes, the United Nations can and often must use troops to bring security and stability.  And yes, humanitarian actors help to diminish the suffer­ing. But lasting solutions to conflicts require working the “politics in tough places”, he says.
 
The challenge is tragically illustrated by the conflict in Syria, where fighting continues to rage despite ongoing efforts to bring about peace negotiations. The central difficulty is getting all parties to understand that the solution can only be political, argues Syria envoy Lakhdar Brahimi in an interview in this edition of Politically Speaking.
 
A Syrian boy playing with a tankPolitical efforts are also central to a new UN-backed push to bring peace and security to the Great Lakes region of Africa.  The cover story looks at both the promise and challenges ahead in implementing the so-called “Framework of Hope” for the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and the region.
 
The new issue of Politically Speaking also retraces the establishment of the UN’s new political mission in Somalia, where encouraging progress is underway after decades of anar­chy, famine and political wrangling. Change is also noticeable in the improving relationship between Iraq and Kuwait, the newsletter notes, and in Yemen — the Middle East’s only negotiated transition — where the UN is supporting an historic national dialogue, and where women and youth are participating in the political process like never before.
 
Yet these achievements are fragile. The newsletter shows why the coming months and years will be decisive for these countries and others alike — including Burundi and Guinea-Bissau, which are aiming for landmark elections.
 
Children in a conflict-affected area of the Central African RepublicOther articles outline how the UN is supporting a long-term vision for the Sahel, assisting the Central African Republic as it struggles to emerge from another crisis, and introducing a greater focus on gender in conflict prevention and resolution.
 
Find all this and more in the latest edition of Politically Speaking. Also consult previous issues of the newsletter and DPA’s electronic newsletter.  To stay abreast of the UN’s political activities, follow DPA on Twitter at @UN_DPA.