June 2009 Monthly Forecast

Posted 29 May 2009
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Guinea-Bissau

Expected Council Action
The Council is expected to consider the Secretary-General’s quarterly report on the UN Peacebuilding Support Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNOGBIS), due by mid-June, including his recommendations on the establishment of an integrated UN office in Guinea-Bissau. The mandate of UNOGBIS expires on 30 June. It remains to be seen whether the Council will consider a shift to an integrated office premature in light recent developments.

Key Recent Developments
On 19 March the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Mediation and Security Council met in Guinea-Bissau and recommended that ECOWAS collaborate with the international community, including the UN, to deploy military and police contingents to protect state institutions, the authorities and the electoral process in Guinea-Bissau. The meeting called for convening a focused roundtable meeting on Guinea-Bissau’s security sector reform (SSR) needs, to be held in Cape Verde. It also considered the drug trafficking problem in the West African subregion.

On 8 April the Council was briefed by . Mutaboba noted that on 12 March the government’s commission of inquiry into the double assassination of President João Bernardo Vieira and Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Tagme Na Waie began work. The prosecutor general and minister of justice had requested technical and financial support and expressed concerns about the lack of security for commission members and witnesses. The prosecutor general said there was lack of cooperation from the parallel military inquiry set up to investigate the assassination of Waie.

Outlining political developments, Mutaboba said that on 14 March the Council of Ministers had nominated Navy Commander José Zamora Induta as chief of general staff and Lieutenant Colonel António N’djai as his deputy. This move bypassed the army and air force chiefs of staff. Subsequently, interim President Raimundo Pereira issued a decree on 4 April, without a constitutional basis, confirming the appointments on an interim basis until a new president is elected.

A constitutional crisis was avoided following talks between Pereira and political parties, as well as civil society. This resulted in broad consensus to hold elections on 28 June 2009. The estimated budget for the elections was about US$5 million, with the UN Development Programme identifying a funding gap of US$2.5 million.

On socioeconomic developments, Mutaboba reported that teachers’ and health workers’ unions had commenced strike action over salary arrears and other issues. (The government owed three months’ salaries from 2008 and was still processing February salaries at the time of the April briefing.)

He listed key issues, including:

  • the “precarious fiscal situation”;
  • a growing disconnect between the local population and the democratic process;
  • the need for a credible commission of inquiry;
  • the need for international financial and technical support for both the national SSR programme and the ECOWAS regional action plan to curb illicit drug trafficking and organised crime; and
  • the need for the Council and international community to “send a signal” to the security forces and the government about their responsibility to protect and uphold human rights.

The chair of the Guinea-Bissau Peacebuilding Commission’s country configuration, Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti of Brazil, said mobilising funding to organise the June elections and SSR were areas in which the Commission could make significant contributions in the short term.

Ambassador Alfredo Cabral Guinea-Bissau called for sustained international support for the country’s peace consolidation efforts.

On 9 April the Council adopted a presidential statement which:

  • welcomed the scheduling of the presidential election for 28 June and urged the government and all political actors to ensure its credibility;
  • reiterated the importance of SSR in Guinea-Bissau and expressed concern about the growth in illegal drug trafficking and transnational organised crime;
  • invited ECOWAS to work in coordination with the government in regard to any regional military deployment;
  • condemned acts of arbitrary detentions, armed attacks and intimidation, and demanded full protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms; and
  • called on the international community to support the commission of inquiry established to investigate the double assassination.

Developments Peacebuilding Commission
The PBC configuration on Guinea-Bissau has been engaged in efforts to secure peacebuilding funding, including by convening a meeting in May on the work of the IMF and World Bank in the country. In an effort to help get Guinea-Bissau’s SSR effectively underway, the PBC organised a mid-April meeting dedicated to SSR and assisted with preparations for the Roundtable on the Restructuring and Modernisation of the Defence and Security Sector in Guinea-Bissau held in Cape Verde on 20 April. The roundtable was convened by the ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council, and its organisers included UNOGBIS and the Guinea-Bissau government.


Key Issues
The immediate issue is ensuring the successful holding of free and fair elections on 28 June and whether the Council should adopt a statement focused on the elections.

A related key issue is whether to renew the mandate of UNOGBIS for a further period until the post-election situation has settled or to transform it into an integrated UN mission in order to harmonise the work of all UN agencies, funds and programmes operating in the country under one central body.

Options
Options available for Council action in June include:

  • renewing the mandate of UNOGBIS and delaying a decision on the transition to integrated office until the post-election situation has stabilised;
  • deciding to transform UNOGBIS into an integrated UN mission; and
  • including in a statement key messages regarding the election, the need for continued international attention and engagement regarding peace consolidation in Guinea-Bissau and supporting the PBC’s efforts in that regard.

Council Dynamics
Council members generally support the idea of transforming UNOGBIS into an integrated UN mission, but in light of recent developments they also seem inclined towards monitoring developments on the ground and shaping subsequent decisions accordingly. The Secretary-General’s upcoming report will be an influencing factor. The question of timing and whether it is premature to shift to an integrated mission remains crucial to the Council’s final decision.

Burkina Faso is the lead country on this issue in the Council.

UN Documents

Selected Security Council Resolution

  • S/RES/1233 (6 April 1999) supported the Secretary-General’s decision to establish UNOGBIS.

Selected Presidential Statements

  • S/PRST/2009/6 (9 April 2009) welcomed the convening of the presidential election for 28 June 2009 and urged credible polls.
  • S/PRST/2009/2 (3 March 2009) condemned the assassination of President Vieira and the chief of the armed forces of Guinea-Bissau, and urged continued adherence to stability, constitutional order, the rule of law and the democratic process.
  • S/PRST/2007/38 (24 October 2007) called on the government and the UN system to take further action on drug trafficking and organised crime.

Selected Letters

  • S/2009/56 (30 January 2009) and S/2009/55 (27 January 2009) was the exchange of letters between the Secretary-General and the president of the Council on the appointment of Joseph Mutaboba as the Secretary-General’s Representative in Guinea-Bissau and head of UNOGBIS.
  • S/2008/778 (22 December 2008) and S/2008/777 (10 December 2008) was the exchange of letters between the Secretary-General and the president of the Council that revised and extended the UNOGBIS mandate to 30 June 2009 and requested recommendations on establishment of an integrated UN Office in Guinea-Bissau by 15 June 2009.
  • S/2008/208 (25 March 2008) was the letter from chairperson of the PBC to the president of the Security Council providing advice on the peacebuilding priorities for Guinea-Bissau.
  • S/2007/744 (11 December 2007) was the letter in which the Council requested information from the PBC on the situation in Guinea-Bissau.
  • S/1999/232 (26 February 1999) welcomed the Secretary-General’s proposal to establish UNOGBIS.

Selected Reports

  • S/2009/169 (31 March 2009) was the latest report on UNOGBIS.

PBC Documents

  • PBC/3/GNB/5 (4 March 2009) was the statement by the chair of the PBC’s configuration on Guinea-Bissau concerning the assassination of President João Bernardo Vieira and army chief Tagme Na Waie.
  • PBC/3/GNB/4 (26 November 2008) was the PBC’s latest conclusions and recommendations on the situation in Guinea-Bissau adopted on 26 November 2008.

Other

  • S/PV.6103 (8 April 2009) was the last briefing by the Representative of the Secretary-General and the head of UNOGBIS, Joseph Mutaboba, on the latest report of the Secretary-General on UNOGBIS.
  • S/2009/120 (3 March 2009) was the letter from the presidency of the Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries to the Council conveying its reaction to the assassination of Guinea-Bissau’s President Vieira and army chief Waie.
  • S/2008/87 (28 December 2007) was the letter from the chair of the PBC informing the president of the Council about the placement of Guinea-Bissau on the PBC’s agenda.

Other Relevant Facts

Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNOGBIS

Joseph Mutaboba (Rwanda)

Size of UNOGBIS Staff

27, including international civilians, military advisers, a police adviser and local civilians

Duration

3 March 1999 to present; mandate expires on 30 June 2009

 

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