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The 2014 Yearbook

The sixty-eighth volume of the Yearbook of the United Nations details the work of the Organization in a year (2014) punctuated by armed conflict, humanitarian and health crises, and human rights abuses. Throughout the year, the United Nations worked to resolve both new and recurring challenges and drew near to finalizing the sustainable development agenda. Four years of conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic saw around 7.6 million people—almost half the country’s population—displaced from their homes. While the United Nations promoted a political solution based on the 2012 Geneva communiqué, the Organization at the same time mobilized to meet the dire humanitarian needs of over 12 million people suffering from the conflict. Meanwhile, the Joint Mission of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the United Nations for the Elimination of the Chemical Weapons Programme of the Syrian Arab Republic completed its mandate, destroying Syria’s declared chemical-weapons stockpile. Elsewhere in the Middle East, peace negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis that had commenced in mid-2013 disintegrated, as the Israeli blockade of Gaza entered its eighth consecutive year. In July, a third war in six years broke out between Israel and armed militants in Gaza, lasting 51 days. In Lebanon, the International Support Group mobilized assistance in a range of areas, including to the Lebanese Armed Forces and in support of Government efforts towards managing the exceptional refugee presence as a consequence of the fighting in Syria. Libya witnessed a political and security crisis alongside the most serious outbreak of armed conflict since the 2011 upheaval, triggering significant civilian casualties and displacement, as well as severe social and economic damage. South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation, was devastated by armed conflict, malnutrition and dire humanitarian conditions, prompting the United Nations to take exceptional measures that included opening the gates of its peacekeeping bases to shelter tens of thousands of people, among many more fleeing for their lives. The conflict in eastern Ukraine emerged as a major concern, as it raised significant issues of sovereignty, territorial integrity and human rights. The Security Council called for an independent investigation into the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in July by a surface-to-air missile over Ukrainian airspace, killing all 298 people on board. Concerns about terrorism and violent extremism remained on the Council’s agenda as millions were subjected to the brutal tactics of Boko Haram in Nigeria, Al-Shabaab in Somalia and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant across the Middle East. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the United Nations launched a strategic dialogue with the Government for road map for the end state of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC. In Mali, attacks against peacekeepers of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali highlighted the threat of asymmetric warfare with improvised explosive devices and other indirect weapons. Globally, the number of persons displaced by conflict and persecution grew to some 60 million, representing the highest level since the Second World War. The global number of persons internally displaced rose to 38.2 million—the highest-ever recorded figure—while stateless persons amounted to at least 3.5 million. Meanwhile, of a world population of over 14.4 million refugees, more than half came from Afghanistan, Somalia and Syria. At year’s end, the United Nations was carrying out 11 political or peacebuilding missions. In response to the outbreak of the Ebola virus disease across West Africa, which raised serious concerns about the potential international security risks posed by health crises, the Security Council convened an emergency session on public health. The Secretary-General subsequently announced the establishment of the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response, the Organization’s first-ever emergency health mission, that led a rapid response to the crisis. Accelerating progress towards the Millennium Development Goals and advancing the development agenda beyond 2015 were major focus areas in development policy and international economic cooperation. The United Nations continued to support advancements to the global status of women, guided by the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action; and 2014 saw a record number of 164 reviews of gender equality targets undertaken by national Governments. The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communications procedure that allowed individual children and their representatives to submit complaints regarding the specific violations of their rights entered into force in April; and in November, the General Assembly convened a high-level meeting marking the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Convention. Political momentum on climate change was maintained by the Climate Summit held in New York in September, where Heads of State, business and civil society leaders announced new actions related to forests, energy, transport and cities. Governments assembled in Lima, Peru, at the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; among the main outcomes were the Lima work programme on gender and the Lima Call for Climate Action. The Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons held in February in Mexico contributed to growing awareness of the risks posed by nuclear weapons, and the first International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons was observed on 26 September. In conventional arms regulation, the landmark Arms Trade Treaty entered into force in December. The United Nations continued to assist Member States in building their response capacities through the ratification and implementation of international legal instruments to prevent and combat terrorism as well as the United Nations Convention against Corruption. The Human Rights Council examined the human rights record of 42 Member States through the universal periodic review mechanism and held three regular sessions. The United Nations continued to promote accountability for serious crimes of international concern and to advocate universal ratification of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The International Court of Justice delivered two judgments, made 12 orders and had 16 contentious cases pending before it.

This volume can be obtained through bookstores worldwide, as well as ordered from: United Nations Publications, 305 East 42nd Street, S-09FW001, New York, New York 10017, United States of America, or: All volumes of the Yearbook of the United Nations can be accessed in full on the Yearbook website: All volumes of the Yearbook of the United Nations can be accessed in full on the Yearbook website: