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Department of Political Affairs

DPA during the 67th General Assembly

General AssemblyThe Department of Political Affairs (DPA) has contributed to the 67th General Assembly (GA) across the breadth of high-level meetings, mini-summits and many other interactions.

One of the most highly attended events during the 67th GA was the High-Level Meeting on the Sahel. This event, in addition to underscoring concern about Mali, expressed support for the efforts, which DPA has been leading on the Secretary-General's behalf, to develop a UN system-wide strategy to respond to High-Level Meeting on the Sahelcross-cutting threats to peace and stability across the region. Moving forward, DPA will support the new Special Envoy for the Sahel, Romano Prodi, in the job of shepherding this strategy and its implementation forward.

Somalia’s hopeful trends were the focus of a Mini-Summit that took stock of major political and security progress in the country and looked ahead to the forging of new partnership with Somali's government to build on these gains. Somalia’s new president addressed the international community from Mogadishu where he is working to advance the progress that the UN has supported. Widely acknowledged was the role of UNPOS, the UN's Political Office for Somalia, which accompanied Somalia’s leaders and fledgling institutions through the recent steps in their political transition.

Hovering over this year’s GA in many of the speeches and meetings was the complex situation in the Middle East and North Africa: on the one hand the encouraging transitions in several Arab countries; on the other, the alarming crisis in Syria, the nuclear tensions on Iran, and the stalemate on Palestine.  

Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN-LAS Joint Special Representative for Syria was able to take advantage of the presence of many leaders and senior diplomats in New York to further his consultations on finding a political solution to the crisis. DPA is supporting his mediation efforts, which received support from the Security Council at a Ministerial Meeting at the UN, and separately, at a meeting of the Group of Friends. 
 
Yemen’s transition, which DPA is also supporting through the role of the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser, was the focus of a Friends of Yemen Ministerial Meeting on the sidelines of the GA. The meeting encouraged continued progress in the country’s fragile transition, particularly through the upcoming national dialogue. 
 
Democratically elected leaders from Tunisia, Egypt and Libya addressed the General Assembly. To these countries' nationally owned and nationally-led transitions, DPA has contributed through the provision of electoral support. In Libya, UNSMIL is delivering a range of support to the country’s post-conflict transition.
 

 Video: UN Electoral Assistance

With regard to the Middle East peace process, a donor meeting on the margins of the General Assembly received an appeal for urgent assistance to bridge a severe funding crisis of the Palestinian Authority. The meetings of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee showcase the valuable work of UNSCO and UN agencies on the ground in support of humanitarian and state-building efforts. 
 
One other major political highlight of this year’s General Assembly was Myanmar, as the Secretary-General met with President Thein Sein and Aung San Suu Kyi and hosted a Group of Friends of Myanmar meeting on the sidelines, encouraging important progress in democratization and reconciliation. DPA has long supported the UN's diplomatic engagement through the Secretary-General’s good offices.
 
Thematic events included the launch of the UN Guidance for Effective Mediation, another important step in  professionalizing the UN's mediation efforts. The guidance developed at the request of the General Assembly aims to helps mediators navigate peace processes around the globe.
 
 
Video: UN Guidance for Effective Mediation
 

The importance of the UN's relationships with regional organizations was much in evidence throughout the week -- examples included the ministerial meeting with ASEAN, a high-level meeting with the leadership of the Pacific Islands Forum, the Secretary-General's meeting with CARICOM leaders, the Security Council session on UN-LAS cooperation, and discussions with ECOWAS and other partners on crises in West Africa. 

DPA also had the opportunity to participate in the UN-AU Joint Task Force and to launch the UN-EU high-level political dialogue, which will enhance the UN's ability to coordinate strategically with the European External Action Service. 
 
Another high-level meeting focused on countering nuclear terrorism, the organization of which was entrusted to the CTITF Office situated in the Department of Political Affairs.