October 2007 Monthly Forecast

Posted 28 September 2007
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Expected Council Action

The Council will discuss a draft resolution presented by the Group of Friends of Haiti (Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, France, Peru and the US). It is expected to renew the mandate of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), which is due to expire on 15 October.

Key Recent Developments
At press time the Group of Friends was preparing the draft resolution. It is likely to endorse the Secretary-General’s recommendations (please visit our September Forecast for details) and:

  • extend the mandate for one year without change;
  • reduce troop strength, increase the police component, and authorise a change in operational procedures to tackle the trafficking of drugs and arms, including by strengthening coastal patrols; and
  • strengthen the language on MINUSTAH’s coordination efforts between the UN country team and development actors.

The draft may also:

  • request the Secretary-General to report to the Council every six months using indicators to measure and track MINUSTAH’s progress for each field of activity; and
  • recognise the importance of the protection of the environment and express support to the government in building appropriate capacity.

On 12 September the Secretary-General briefed the Council on his recent trip to Haiti, and emphasised fighting corruption and illicit trafficking as key issues.

On 31 August foreign and defence vice ministers of the nine Latin American troop-contributing countries (the 2×9 mechanism) plus Panama, met in Guatemala. They agreed that sustaining achievements in security, institutional strengthening and socioeconomic development required MINUSTAH to remain in Haiti until all goals were met. The nine defence ministers and military officers then met in Port-au-Prince on 4 September. They also emphasised the necessity of strengthening cooperation between all actors involved in Haiti’s stabilisation. Argentina said it would organise a meeting to that effect in October.

During his speech to the General Assembly on 27 September, Haitian President René Préval said that MINUSTAH was the “only formula that is realistic and available at this time that enables Haitians to restore freedom and live in peace.”

Options include adopting the Group’s draft without changes, but the Council could also:

  • renew MINUSTAH’s mandate for six months (with the intention to renew it for further periods) instead of renewing it for one year; and
  • strengthen language on benchmarks.

Other options include:

  • giving MINUSTAH a greater role in quick-impact projects aimed at creating jobs and providing basic social services; and
  • requesting the UN Secretariat to provide more details on the MINUSTAH maritime component and adjusting the mandate accordingly.

Key Issues
A key issue is whether the Council will challenge the draft resolution from the Group of Friends on the basis of the possible benchmarks to measure progress. It seems that this was already an issue for the Group of Friends. The Council may want to discuss it further. Perhaps some may argue for strengthening the language and bringing it closer to the Secretary-General’s proposal.

A related issue is whether the Council will bring to bear, in the discussion of possible benchmarks, some of the language now being used in this context by the Peacebuilding Commission.

Another possible issue that may be reopened is a need to clarify the specific tasks and rules of engagement for the coastal patrol teams that will be made up by national and MINUSTAH police.

It is unclear whether issues will arise regarding police and judicial reform or development issues.

And the basic issue of China’s overall hesitation about the operation could play into a number of the above issues as well as the question of the actual length of the MINUSTAH extension.

Council and Wider Dynamics
Peru has the lead and usually circulates the Group of Friends’ draft within the Council.

There seems to be consensus on most of the Secretary-General’s recommendations, particularly on MINUSTAH’s composition, border security and the need to support the reforms. However, some members may want clarification on coastal patrolling.

Some controversial issues within the Group may spill over into the Council. While the US and Canada seemed to favour benchmarks in the draft, Latin American countries seemed hesitant, hence the compromise “indicators.” There is also the issue of whether to reinforce language on development. France and the US are usually reluctant to involve peacekeepers in development, while Latin Americans are very supportive.

It remains to be seen whether some Council members outside the Group of Friends (including China, Belgium, Italy, Russia and the UK) will want to reopen various issues. Some favour the idea of benchmarks and may advocate for stronger language, noting the fact that the Peacebuilding Commission now uses detailed benchmarks in its work. References to the environment may meet opposition from members usually reluctant to have the Council address this theme (e.g. China and Russia). Finally, it also remains to be seen whether China would support a one year renewal.

It seems that Uruguay, the second largest troop contributor after Brazil, would like to become a member of the Group of Friends.

UN Documents

 Selected Security Council Resolution
  • S/RES/1743  (15 February 2007) renewed MINUSTAH until 15 October.
 Latest Secretary-General’s Report

Other Relevant Facts

 Special Representative of the Secretary-General
 Hédi Annabi (Tunisia)
 Force Commander
 Major General Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz (Brazil)
 Size and Composition of Mission
  • Authorised strength as of 15 August 2006: military component of up to 7,200 troops and police component of up to 1,951 officers.
  • Current strength as of 30 August 2007: 8,825 uniformed personnel, including 7,054 troops and 1,771 police.
  • Key troop-contributing countries: Brazil, Uruguay, Sri Lanka, Jordan, Nepal, Argentina, Chile
 1 July 2007-30 June 2008: $561.34 million

Full forecast