Syria: Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi briefed the SC and the press yesterday about the political situation in Syria. He urged the Security Council to go beyond disagreement and take action, making the necessary changes needed to the Geneva Communiqué that can be used to come to a political solution. Speaking to the press following the session, Ambassador Masood Khan of Pakistan, which holds the rotating presidency of the Council, noted that Council members conveyed a sense of urgency to take action. Ambassador Susan Rice, however, suggested that breakthroughs do not seem likely in the near future. Pledging Conference: Today, UN Member States and international partners pledged $1.5 billion in support of the Syria Humanitarian Assistance Response Plan and the Refugee Response Plan for the next six months. The SG, in his remarks at the conference, urged the parties in Syria, “In the name of humanity: Stop the violence.” Thanks to these contributions, he said, humanitarian agencies and their partners will be able to reach many more both inside and outside of the country. DSG: DSG Jan Eliasson spoke to the SC today on the need for measures to enhance the rule of law in conflict and post-conflict situations. At the meeting, focused on the effectiveness of the UN System’s Support to the promotion of the Rule of Law in such settings, he noted that the SG has 1) enhanced field leadership, making them responsible and accountable for guiding UN rule of law strategies, addressing local challenges, and coordinating UN country support on the rule of law; and 2) designated DPKO and UNDP as the joint Global Focal Point dealing with police, justice, and corrections issues in post-conflict and other crisis situations. UNDP: UNDP held its first Executive Board Meeting on Monday, where Administrator Helen Clark issued remarks on the agency’s 2013 priorities. She touched on the accomplishments and development discussions of 2012 – most importantly the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review – and the importance of reflecting those outcomes in UNDP’s work; the status of the next UNDP Strategic Plan and the related Integrated Budget; and the progress UNDP is making on maximizing transparency and accountability. “Our new Strategic Plan will play a critical role in ensuring that our organization is fully capable of providing relevant, high quality and timely support to developing countries, and in enabling us to demonstrate the impact of our work,” she said. Somalia: USG for DPA Jeffrey Feltman was in Mogadishu, Somalia today where he held meetings with the Prime Minister and the Speaker of the Somali Parliament, members of the UN Country Team and UN staff serving in the capital. This follows the SG’s announcement at the AU Summit that he will propose to the SC the establishment of a new UN peace-building presence in Somalia, as part of the effort to strengthen the UN-AU partnership on the ground.