September 2006 Monthly Forecast

Posted 31 August 2006
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THE SECURITY COUNCIL

Review of Security Council Mandates

In the July 2006 Forecast we outlined the criteria established by the Security Council’s Ad Hoc Committee in its review of Security Council mandates.  At the end of June, consensus had been reached to recommend that the Secretary-General phase out the vacant position of Special Envoy for Ethiopia and Eritrea. 

The Committee intends next to address two issues in September. Recommendations are likely to be put to the Security Council for action, covering:

  • phasing out the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Region (see below for more detailed analysis of this issue which may be controversial); and
  • the duplication of the functions of the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Africa, based in Geneva, with other members of the Secretariat, including the Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs and the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Africa, based in New York. 

A number of other issues are up for discussion.

  • Possible adjustments to the UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) that would allow the Secretariat to better utilise resources and take advantage of resources in the region.  (The Committee had intended to carry out consultations with interested parties.  However, the situation in the Middle East may have set back these consultations. The Committee received a detailed briefing on UNTSO from the Secretariat at its 26 June meeting.)
  • Adjusting the frequency of reporting from the Secretary-General on the United Nations Peace-Building Support Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNOGBIS). (This coincided with a recommendation by the Secretary-General in his report (A/60/733).)

The Committee decided that it should not take up the issue of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), whose mandate is to verify that pre-invasion Iraq was rid of weapons of mass destruction. Due to the sensitivity of the issues surrounding this mandate, it was agreed that discussion of this should continue outside of the Committee.  (See the brief on Iraq in this Forecast.)

The Committee expects to proceed with phase two of its review process between September and December.

Mandate of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Region
The Committee is expected to recommend that this mandate be phased out.  However, there is no consensus as yet on the timing for this phase-out.

There appears to be frustration among some Council members that the preparation for the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (the second Summit) has taken too long, and a strong view that the mandate of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General should be phased out.  The Summit has already been postponed several times and it was most recently scheduled for September 2006.  The Summit is now set to take place 14-15 December 2006 in Nairobi, Kenya. 

In resolution 1653 the Council unanimously commended “the positive role played by the Secretary-General” and others “in organising and participating in the First Summit.”  The Council also encouraged the countries of the Great Lakes region “in partnership with the Special Representative and other stakeholders to finalise the preparations for the second Summit…with a view to adopting a Security, Stability and Development Pact for the countries of the Great Lakes region.”  In its earlier resolution 1493 of 2003 the Council reaffirmed that the international conference “should be organised at the appropriate time.” However, uncertainty in the region, in particular in the DRC, has contributed to the delay in the staging of the conference. 

Other Council members share the view of the Secretary-General that significant progress has been made so far and that there is still important work to be done by the Office of the Special Representative.  They argue that the future of the Office beyond the second Summit should be contingent on the Summit’s outcome and not just on the holding of the Summit itself.  Hence, the mandate should be extended beyond the conclusion of the second Summit and assessed when there is a greater clarity on the direction of the entire process in the region.

The Council’s concern was explicitly reflected in an exchange of notes between the Secretary-General and the President of the Security Council in the past year. The reluctance to extend the mandate was apparent. On 15 November 2005, the Secretary-General informed the President of the Security Council of his intention to extend the mandate of his Special Representative until 31 December 2006, and asked that the matter be brought to the attention of the members of the Security Council (S/2005/793).  The Secretary-General indicated that the core countries would continue to require the support of the international community up to and beyond the proposed second Summit. 

In response, the President of the Council on 15 December 2005 informed the Secretary-General that the Council members requested further information and clarification in writing on the proposed extension of the mandate, detailing the activities expected to be performed by the Special Representative and the Office in 2006 to support the process of the proposed second Summit, based on an assessment of his role and performance over the past eight years (S/2005/794). 

The Secretary-General’s January 2006 report (S/2006/46) provided details of the progress made.  Among other things, he pointed out that the Special Representative had provided assistance to the core countries in preparing projects and plans of action in the fields of peace and security, democracy and good governance, economic development and regional integration, and humanitarian and social issues.  In the meantime, the Secretary-General extended the mandate of the Special Representative only to 31 March 2006.

Following a further exchange of letters between the Secretary-General and the president of the Security Council in March 2006 the mandate of the Special Representative was extended to 30 September 2006.  It was expected at that time that the second Summit would be held in September 2006.  Members of the Security Council encouraged the Special Representative to focus on three priorities in fulfilling his mandate:

  • assist the countries of the region to convene the second Summit of Heads of State and Government of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region at the earliest opportunity and to include a clear focus on peace and security issues;
  • facilitate adoption by the countries in the region of a security, stability and development pact; and
  • support the core countries in ensuring that the planned, regionally led follow-up mechanism is fully operational by the time of the second Summit and to take the necessary steps to transfer residual United Nations responsibilities to the core countries.

The Council members also requested that there should be an opportunity to review the Special Representative’s mandate if the second Summit did not take place in September 2006. 

Background

  • The Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General was established in 1999.
  • The idea to hold an International Conference on the Great Lakes Region was first mooted in a Council presidential statement on Rwanda of 14 October 1994, and endorsed in subsequent statements and resolutions.
  • The Office is headed by Assistant Secretary-General Ibrahima Fall and includes seven international staff; and is supported primarily through temporary secondment of staff by UNDP and UNIFEM, as well as other UN agencies, and by the Group of Friends of the Great Lakes Region.
  • The cost of the Office for 2006, as estimated by the Secretary-General in a December 2005 report (A/60/585), was a little over two million dollars.
  • The core countries launched the preparatory process for the Conference at the meeting of National Coordinators held at Nairobi, Kenya in June 2003.
  • The eleven core countries are: Angola, Burundi, the DRC, the Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, Kenya, Rwanda, the Sudan, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania and Zambia.  The Republic of the Congo and Tanzania are current members of the Security Council.
  • It was decided that the Conference would include two Summits, with the anticipation that the first would be held June 2004.
  • Together with the AU, the Office helped to organise the first Summit, held 19-20 November 2004 in Dar-es-Salaam, at which a landmark Declaration on Peace, Security, Democracy and Development in the Great Lakes Region (the Dar-es-Salaam Declaration) was adopted.
  • The Office has submitted two reports so far:
    — November 2003  following the launch of the preparatory process; and
    — January 2006 on the progress achieved since the first report, and, in particular following the first Summit.
  • The Office also briefed the Security Council Missions to Central Africa and the Great Lakes Region in 2003, 2004 and 2005.
  • Since the first Summit the Office has been helping the core countries to prepare the projects to be included in the Security, Stability, and Development Pact to be adopted at the second Summit.

UN Documents

 Selected Security Council Resolutions
 Selected Presidential Statement
  • S/PRST/1994/59 (14 October 1994) encouraged the Secretary-General to consult and prepare for a conference on the region; this was the first mention of an international conference on the Great Lakes region.
 Selected Letters
  • S/2006/193 and S/2006/192 (29 March 2006) was an exchange of letters between the president of the Security Council and the Secretary-General regarding the extension of the Special Representative’s mandate to 30 September 2006.
  • S/2005/794 and S/2006/793 (16 December 2005) was an exchange of letters between the president of the Security Council and the Secretary-General  regarding the extension of Special Representative’s mandate.
 Secretary-General’s Reports
  • S/2006/46(25 January 2006) was the second report on preparations for an international conference on the Great Lakes region.
  • 17 November 2003 (S/2003/1099) was the first report on preparations for an international conference on the Great Lakes region.

Full forecast