DPKO: USG for DPKO, Herve Ladsous, briefed the press today on the new challenges to his department in2013. He noted that despite the shared desire by the international community to address the situation in Mali, a peacekeeping mission in the country is something for the SC to consider. Such a mission would require an invitation by the Malian government – depending on securing some semblance of constitutional order – though contingency plans are in the works. In Syria, DPKO is also prepared to assist with potential peacekeeping operations in certain areas of the country, dependent upon the security situation. Ladsous also noted that the DRC Framework Agreement is in its final stages and that MONUSCO must be reassessed. An “Intervention Brigade” within MONUSCO is being discussed in the SC, briefed by Ladsous on the topic yesterday.

CSD: The Commission on Social Development today began its 10-day session at UNHQ, calling for the empowerment of the poorest and most vulnerable populations to lift themselves out of poverty. The session will include over 30 side events, the consideration of five resolutions, and recommendations by the Civil Society Forum on promoting the empowerment of people to achieve social development goals. The President of ECOSOC, Néstor Osorio, said that social cohesion – essential for promoting development – could erode without adequate policies and mechanisms.

World Bank: The SG met with Mr. Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank, yesterday. The two leaders discussed UN-World Bank collaboration in the Great Lakes region in Africa, accelerating progress towards the MDGs by 2015, and the process of a post-2015 development agenda, with particular attention paid to development and climate change challenges.

Rights Protocol: Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights will now enter into force on May 5th, after necessary ratification by Uruguay yesterday. Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay noted that the entry into force of the Optional Protocol is a major breakthrough, enabling victims under the jurisdiction of the States parties to seek justice for violations of their economic, social, and cultural rights.

FGM: UN Agencies today called for an end to female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) on the International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM/C. Since 2008, when the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on FGM/C was established, nearly 10,000 communities in 15 countries – about 8 million people – have renounced the practice. Despite the progress, UNICEF and UNFPA called on countries to accelerate their efforts towards ending FGM/C.