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Northeast Asia

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Supporting Cooperation in Northeast Asia

Northeast Asia: Northeast Asia is home to one fifth of the world’s people and makes up one quarter of the world's gross domestic product. The region is still grappling with historical and territorial disputes.  DPPA advocates for differences to be managed and resolved peacefully and encourages Northeast Asian countries to expand their coordination and collaboration.

Korean Peninsula: The situation on the Korean Peninsula is one of the longest-standing issues before the United Nations.  The Security Council first adopted a resolution on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) nuclear issue in 1993, when it urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea not to withdraw from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.  DPPA’s objective is to contribute to furthering efforts to reach a peaceful, negotiated solution of the outstanding issues on the Korean Peninsula, with a priority on supporting the parties to step up efforts to build trust, reduce tension and supporting dialogue for sustainable peace and complete and verifiable denuclearization. 

DPPA presence and activities: DPPA is the lead entity supporting the Secretary-General in the UN’s efforts to prevent and resolve conflicts at the global level, and proactively partners with UN Women and other entities in advancing the Women, Peace and Security (WPS), as well as the Youth, Peace and Security (YPS) agendas.  DPPA’s Asia and the Pacific Division in New York and the liaison presence in Beijing, which interacts with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, in a spirit of joint work with other UN entities, prepares briefings to the Security Council, conducts political analysis, supports the Secretary-General's good offices and preventive diplomacy efforts, carries out capacity building, and builds partnerships with other entities. 

DPPA’s Programme to Support Cooperation in Northeast Asia allows the UN system to, inter alia: (i) facilitate the participation of regional representatives in UN fora; (ii) support UN/DPPA engagement and partnerships; (iii) facilitate UN initiatives in and on Northeast Asia; and (iv) contribute to UN coherence.  DPPA’s Security Council Affairs Division provides support to the functioning of the Security Council as well as to the works of its subsidiary organs, including the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1718 (2006).


Partnerships and Cooperation

As per the Secretary-General’s vision on prevention, the “UN is not the only actor, and in many cases not even the most important actor.  The ultimate goal is not to expand our remit but to make a real difference for people, especially the most vulnerable.  As the anchor of multilateralism with universal membership, the UN has unparalleled capacity to convene and mobilize.  The UN system is most impactful when truly enabling others.  This means building meaningful partnerships with the widest array of Governments, regional organizations, international financial institutions, civil society organizations, academia and the private sector, always being truthful to our mission as the guardian of the international norms that the Organization has generated over the past seven decades”.

DPPA is in regular contact with its governmental, regional and sub-regional organizations counterparts, as well as with other entities. The Department coordinates the UN system in this endeavour, including by ensuring information-sharing and cooperation on regional or country-specific issues of mutual concern.  For Northeast Asia, partnerships and cooperation with other entities include:





Supporting the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in Northeast Asia

13-14 June 2023, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Following, the regional dialogue in December 2019 in Beijing, China, on 13-14 June 2023, DPPA, in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia, UN Women, and the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC), convened a two-day in-person dialogue on the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda in Northeast Asia in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The dialogue brought together government officials, academics, and representatives from civil society from Mongolia, Japan, and the ROK. The participants discussed regional trends, increased tensions and risks, including nuclear, in the region and the continued marginalization of women in peacebuilding, preventive diplomacy, and the security sectors. The dialogue also provided an opportunity for the participants to learn and have a fruitful exchange about Japan and the ROK’s 1325 National Action Plan (NAP) as Mongolia is envisaging to restart discussions on its NAP. This year, a young peacebuilder from Mongolia also joined the interactive discussions, with the participants exploring the nexus between the WPS and the Youth, Peace and Security (YPS) agendas. The dialogue was followed by the Ulaanbaatar Dialogue on Northeast Asian Security and the First Female Foreign Ministers Meeting hosted by the Foreign Minister of Mongolia.


Futuring peace in Northeast Asia

A DPPA and UNESCO Virtual Dialogue Series with Northeast Asian Youth, July – October 2021.

Futuring peace in Northeast Asia - an initiative by the United Nations Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA) is dedicated to strengthening opportunities for Northeast Asian youth to share their unique observations for regional peace and security with policymakers, as a step towards broader representation of youth in high-level policy fora in line with UN Security Council Resolutions 2250 (2015)2419 (2018) and 2535 (2020) on Youth, Peace and Security (YPS).

The first phase of the project in 2021 was implemented in partnership with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and focused on building capabilities for digital facilitation and utilizing Futures Literacy methodology considering the specific regional context. During a series of virtual dialogues, youth from China, Japan, Mongolia, and the Republic of Korea imagined scenarios set in 2060. They recognized the criticality of building shared regional experiences that would enable a peaceful future through for instance education systems, academic exchanges, and cultural assets such as movies and literature.

 A collage of peopleDescription automatically generated with low confidence

In 2022, the initiative was implemented in collaboration with the Swiss foreign policy think-tank foraus and co-designed and co-facilitated by Northeast Asian youth. From April to September 2022, four workshops were held where the youth peacebuilders used strategic foresight tools to develop concrete policy recommendations for policymakers, exploring pathways to a peaceful future for the region. Questions were framed using the “Futures Triangle” approach, probing participants to think about future outcomes by looking at three dimensions: the push of the present, the pull from the future, and the weight of the past. Through collective scenario building and testing, they identified four key policy avenues, including establishing digital literacy programs, furthering educational and technological cooperation, creating a regional youth parliament, and fostering an inclusive Metaverse.

As an outcome of the initiative, a youth-drafted policy report on the future of collaboration and narrative building in Northeast Asia was launched on World Futures Day 2 December 2022 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, with Assistant Secretary-General for Asia and the Pacific Khaled Khiari, youth peacebuilders, regional experts and UN partners present.

In addition to the workshops, in 2022 APD supported youth representatives to attend multiple policy platforms. At the Ulaanbaatar Dialogue on Northeast Asian Security (UBD) in June 2022, DPPA, the Mongolian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Institute for Strategic Studies jointly organized a youth panel. Youth participants also attended the Climate Change and Youth Forum in Mongolia in August 2022, where they moderated a session on Global Warming and Greenhouse Gas Emissions and facilitated a group work session on strategic foresight, and at the Transforming Education Summit in New York in September 2022, sharing insights on education and technology as enablers for peace in the region.

In a region that lacks common security structures, the project enables the capacity of young people to be at the forefront of regional discussions and engagements. The project demonstrates that interaction among youth from Northeast Asia and with relevant policy makers can help identify the challenges and opportunities ahead. Additional policy platforms for youth to present their ideas and policy recommendations to a broader audience will be provided with the project in 2023.

UN WebTV video of Ms. Ijun Kim as a youth peacebuilder in the Futuring Peace in Northeast Asia project: Ijun's Future: Foresight for Peace | UN Web TV


For more information:

The project website: https://futuringpeace.org/NEA/ 

Policy brief: The Future of Regional Narrative Building in Northeast Asia – Policy recipes by youth peacebuilders (December 2022)

Interview with participants in DPPA’s Politically Speaking December 2021 : https://dppa.medium.com/creating-a-collective-language-youth-from-northeast-asia-imagine-the-future-of-the-region-97e411135a7d

UNESCO’s Futures Literacy : https://en.unesco.org/futuresliteracy


Youth perspectives on disarmament and non-proliferation in Northeast Asia

DPPA and ODA online learning series with Northeast Asian young leaders, April-December 2020

The UN Security Council Resolutions 2250 (2015), 2419 (2018) and 2535 (2020) on Youth, Peace and Security (YPS) provide a framework for the UN to promote a more meaningful participation of youth in peace and security processes.  The adoption by the UN General Assembly of Resolution 74/64 on “Youth, disarmament and non-proliferation”, tabled by the Republic of Korea (ROK) on 21 October 2019 and co-sponsored by 84 Member States, including Japan, the People’s Republic of China and Mongolia, created another entry point for multilateral policy and confidence-building initiatives with young people in the region. 

In 2020, DPPA and the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs (ODA) launched a joint project to bring together a group of Northeast Asian young leaders to discuss disarmament and non-proliferation issues. Since April, the joint team has worked with eight youth leaders from the ROK, Japan, China and Mongolia to train and build their capacity on disarmament, non-proliferation, gender, new technologies and civil society action. The participants participated in a series of virtual discussions with UN officials, independent experts, academics and civil society representatives.

The project also connected youth with senior policy makers in the region. On 2 December, a participant of the project spoke at a youth special session convened for the first time as part of the annual ROK-UN Joint Conference on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Issues, in line with the ambition to build bridges between decision-makers and young people. Members of the group also recorded an episode for ODA’s Disarmament Today podcast and wrote an article for DPPA’s Politically Speaking to reflect on their experiences.

To learn more about DPPA’s youth champions in Northeast Asia, please click here for a poster about the project and the participants.

Please find the links to the young leaders' policy papers and their perspectives:

Note: These policy papers were developed in the course of a regional project and reflect solely the views of their authors. They do not necessarily reflect the official position of the United Nations or its Member States nor do they entail their endorsement.


Expert-Level Discussions on Northeast Asian Countries’ Contributions to the Women, Peace and Security Agenda

10 December 2019, Beijing, China

DPPA, in close cooperation with UN Women and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), organized a regional expert discussion on Northeast Asian countries’ contributions to the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda.  The event in Beijing on 10 December gathered more than 30 participants from China, Japan, Mongolia and the Republic of Korea to discuss progress of WPS implementation in the region in light of the 2020 anniversaries of the Beijing+25 process and the 20th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325.  At the event, SIPRI launched its background paper on emerging role of the ROK and Japan in WPS.  The Beijing consultations provided an opportunity to strengthen regional networks and allowed experts from the region to discuss challenges and to share best practices amongst each other. 

See link to Women, Peace and Security: Voices from Northeast Asia (March 2021).


Under-Secretary-General Rosemary DiCarlo’s remarks to the 2019 Global Peace Forum on Korea

28 September 2019, New York, USA

I am pleased to again send my warm greetings to the 2019 Global Peace Forum on Korea.  Last year, the Korean Peninsula experienced momentous developments.  We witnessed summits and family reunions. And many commitments were made.  Today, the international community is eager for talks to resume and progress to be made. 

I am glad that the United Nations has been a platform for the two Koreas to send messages of collaboration and peace.  Over the past 12 months, the Panmunjom Declaration was circulated as an official document of the General Assembly and Security Council; traditional Korean wrestling was listed as Intangible Cultural Heritage thanks to a joint application from both Koreas, and the World Taekwondo and International Taekwon-Do Federation promoted peace at the United Nations Office at Geneva.

These symbolic steps are crucial.  But more is needed.   The Secretary-General continues to urge the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to begin working-level talks with the United States, as agreed by the two leaders in June, and to resume inter-Korean dialogue.  The summits involving the leaders of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea and United States respectively remain important milestones. 

They have built an atmosphere conducive to advancing sustainable peace and complete and verifiable denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, in accordance with the relevant Security Council resolutions.  There could be setbacks, but there is now a foundation to make tangible progress on the core issues.  The United Nations system and our Good Offices are available to support the diplomatic efforts of the parties.  I wish you great success in the discussions ahead and look forward to the results of the forum.  Thank you.


Youth, Peace and Security: Perspectives for Dialogues in Northeast Asia Regional Workshop

3 to 4 June 2019, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

It is beyond question that young people must be included in discussing  peace and security issues, including in peace negotiations.  On 3 and 4 June 2019, DPPA, in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia, the UN team in Mongolia, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the United Network of Young Peacebuilders (UNOY) brought together young people from all around Northeast Asia to discuss the youth, peace and security agenda and perspectives for dialogues in the region.  Khishigjargal Enkhbayar, a former Coordinator at the UN Youth Advisory Panel in Mongolia, wrote about the experience here.  The workshop was mentioned in the Secretary-General’s first report on Youth and peace and security issued on 2 March 2020.