October 2008 Monthly Forecast

Posted 29 September 2008
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AFRICA

Côte d’Ivoire

Expected Council Action
The Council expects to receive a report from the Secretary-General on Côte d’Ivoire’s electoral process by 15 October. Keeping the 30 November presidential election on track is expected to be a priority for the Council. The mandate of the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), which ends on 31 January, is not expected to be discussed. However, a review of the sanctions regime and the mandate of the Group of Experts on Côte d’Ivoire is likely. Both are due to expire on 31 October. The Group’s report on the implementation of the sanctions measures is also due by 15 October.

Key Recent Developments
On 10 July the Secretary-General submitted a report on progress achieved in implementing the major objectives set out in the Ouagadougou peace accord and its supplementary agreements. (The Ouagadougou Agreement of March 2007 and its subsequent political accords signed in November 2007 serve as a basis for reconciling the Ivorian government and the former rebel Forces nouvelles. Major objectives include identifying and registering voters, disarming former rebels and dismantling militias, and unifying and restructuring of the defence and security forces.)

The Secretary-General’s report noted that the Ivorian government had adopted all of the decrees for the electoral process required under the Ouagadougou Agreement. While describing the overall security situation as stable, the report indicated that there could be setbacks to the peace process if adequate resources were not made available, for example for the cantonment of former combatants. Other concerns included the lack of progress on disarming and dismantling militias. The Secretary-General called on international donors to help close crucial funding gaps confronting both the identification and electoral processes.

On 29 July the Council unanimously adopted resolution 1826 renewing the mandate of UNOCI until 31 January and requesting an update report on the electoral process by 15 October.

On 15 September preparations for voter identification and registration for the presidential elections were launched in Yamoussoukro, with Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Côte d’Ivoire, Choi Young-jin. At their quarterly meeting on 26 August, the heads of UN peacekeeping operations in West Africa (the UN Peacebuilding Support Office in Guinea-Bissau or UNOGBIS, the UN Mission in Liberia or UNMIL, the UN Office in West Africa or UNOWA, as well as UNOCI) welcomed the progress made in the implementation of the Ouagadougou Agreement. However, they also expressed concern over delays in electoral preparations and emphasised the need to start identification and registration processes for the presidential elections. Choi reportedly noted some important progress, including the completion of financing for the electoral process, airlifting of identification and registration material and for the cantonment of former combatants.

Key Issues
A key issue for the Council in October will be progress with the electoral process. Council members will be conscious of the fact that the election has already been postponed three times previously.

Other issues for discussion include the sanctions regime on Côte d’Ivoire (on arms and diamonds, and also a targeted asset freeze and travel ban on certain individuals) and the renewal of the mandate of the Group of Experts. Resolution 1782 of 29 October 2007 extended the sanctions regime and the mandate of the Group of Experts until 31 October 2008. It requires the Council to review the sanction measures “in light of progress achieved in the implementation of the key steps of the peace process” before they expire.

Options
Options for the Council include:

  • a simple renewal of the sanctions regime as well as the mandate of the Group of Experts without modifications, which is a likely option;
  • modifying the sanctions regime as an incentive for progress already made by reducing its scope of application (this is more likely to be considered after a successful election); and
  • adopting a separate statement urging the parties to maintain their commitment to the terms of the Ouagadougou Agreement, stressing the critical importance of keeping the electoral process on track and requesting a subsequent update report from the Secretary-General on the situation in early November.

Council Dynamics
There is general consensus among Council members that monitoring the electoral situation closely and proactively is important in order to keep it on track. They have shown interest in keeping informed about the process, highlighting particularly early identification of impediments to the electoral timetable. There also seems to be general agreement on the need to lend support to efforts to ensure the electoral process remains on track.

There is a very strong view that the presidential elections must be held as currently scheduled on 30 November. Council members are against any politically motivated delays. They also want to do everything possible to avoid delays caused by purely technical or logistical reasons and to ensure free, fair and credible elections.

Council members appear to agree on the need at this stage to keep the sanctions regime in place and renew the mandate of the Group of Experts. The successful holding of elections seems to form a key requirement in the judgment of many Council members on when sanctions might be modified.

France is the lead country in the Council on this issue together with African members.

Underlying Problems
Other major problems remain. These include socioeconomic hardships resulting from civil war, including run-down national institutional structures, lack of basic health care, deficient infrastructure, unemployment, human rights violations and problems in the rule of law. All this suggests that a major peacebuilding agenda lies ahead once the election is successfully held.

UN Documents

 

Latest Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1826 (29 July 2008) extended the mandate of UNOCI until 31 January 2009.
  • S/RES/1795 (15 January 2008) extended the mandate of UNOCI until 30 July 2008 and requested a report on the preparation of the electoral process no later than 15 April 2008.
  • S/RES/1782 (29 October 2007) extended the sanctions regime and the mandate of the sanctions monitoring Group of Experts until 31 October 2008.
  • S/RES/1765 (16 July 2007) extended the mandate of UNOCI until 15 January 2008.
  • S/RES/1761 (20 June 2007) extended the mandate of the Group of Experts until 31 October 2007.
  • S/RES/1727 (15 December 2006) renewed the sanctions regime until 31 October 2007.
  • S/RES/1721 (1 November 2006) prolonged by one year the transitional period in Côte d’Ivoire and reinforced the powers of the prime minister.

Selected Presidential Statements

  • S/PRST/2008/11 (29 April 2008) welcomed the approval by the Ivorian authorities of the Independent Electoral Commission’s proposal to postpone the presidential elections to 30 November 2008.
  • S/PRST/2007/8 (28 March 2007) endorsed the Ouagadougou Agreement, supported the appointment of Guillaume Soro as prime minister and requested a report from the Secretary-General on the UN’s future role in the peace process.

Selected Council Debate

  • S/PV.5915(18 June 2008) was the Council debate on the visiting mission to Africa from 31 May to 10 June 2008.

Latest Secretary-General’s Report

  • S/2008/451 (10 July 2008) was the Secretary-General’s latest update report on UNOCI.

Other

  • S/2008/460 (15 July 2008) was the report of the Council’s latest mission to Africa.
  • S/2008/347 (30 May 2008) were the terms of reference for the Council visiting mission to Africa from 31 May to 10 June.
  • S/2008/235 (9 April 2008) was the latest report of the Group of Experts on Côte d’Ivoire.
  • S/2007/515 (30 August 2007) was the report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict in Côte d’Ivoire.
  • S/2007/223 (19 April 2007) was an International Working Group communiqué, requesting its two co-chairs to consult with ECOWAS and the AU on its future role and recommendations to Security Council.
  • S/2007/144 (13 March 2007) contained the Ouagadougou Agreement.

Other Relevant Facts

Special Representative of the Secretary-General

Choi Young-jin (Republic of Korea)

Group of Experts

Grégoire Bafouatika, Republic of Congo (aviation)
Agim de Bruycker, Belgium (diamonds)
Lipika Majumdar Roy Choudhury, India (finance/Coordinator of the Group)
Claudio Gramizzi, Italy (arms)
Vernon Paul Kulyk, Canada (customs)

Size and Composition of UNOCI

  • Strength as of 31 July 2008: 9,119 total uniformed personnel, including 7,830 troops, 192 military observers and 1,097 police
  • Key troop-contributing countries: Bangladesh, Ghana, Jordan, Morocco and Pakistan

Approved Budget

1 July 2008 – 30 June 2009: $497.46 million

Full forecast