October 2009 Monthly Forecast

Posted 30 September 2009
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AFRICA

Côte d’Ivoire

Expected Council Action
In October the Council will consider the Secretary-General’s midterm report on Côte d’Ivoire and review the situation in the country. It will also review the mandate of the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), which ends on 31 January 2010.

The Council is expected to renew the sanctions regime (on arms and diamonds, along with a targeted asset freeze and travel ban on certain individuals) and the mandate of the Group of Experts on Côte d’Ivoire. 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 23 July the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Côte d’Ivoire, Choi Young-jin, briefed the Council on the latest report of the Secretary-General. The report said the overall security situation remained generally stable, with significant progress being made in the past two years in the implementation of the 2007 Ouagadougou Political Agreement. The Secretary-General also highlighted community tensions in the west of the country, which have adversely impacted the return of internally displaced persons.

The Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping operations, Alain Le Roy, visited Côte d’Ivoire from 10 to 14 June to consult with national and international stakeholders on the Ivorian peace process and the activities of UNOCI. He met, President Laurent Gbagbo, Prime Minister Guillaume Soro, President Blaise Compaoré of Burkina Faso (the facilitator of the Ivorian peace process) and the leaders of the Ivorian opposition. He obtained assurances that remaining tasks under the reunification agenda would not pose obstacles to meeting the 29 November date for the presidential election.

On 30 July the Council adopted resolution 1880 extending the mandate of UNOCI until 31 January 2010. The Council requested the Secretary-General to provide a midterm report by the end of September about the situation on the ground, including a specific update on the security situation and preparations for the electoral process. It emphasised that political actors were “bound to” respect the current electoral timeline, reiterated its preparedness to impose targeted sanctions against those who obstruct the elections, and expressed its “conviction that any postponement of the elections of 29 November would be inconsistent with a credible process”. The Council expressed its intention to review progress of the electoral process and, possibly, the mandate of UNOCI by 15 October.

On 4 September the Secretary-General wrote to the Council advising on preparations of the provisional electoral list for the Ivorian presidential election. He said the Office of the Ivorian Prime Minister had indicated that there would be about a two-week delay in its publication.

But on 14 September Ivorian officials indicated that the country would miss the 15 September deadline to publish the provisional voter lists by another two weeks. (Reasons cited included a shortage of data processing staff because of a lack of money to pay employees and breakdowns in communications systems.)

On 11 September, Choi in a Reuters interview implied that the November 29 poll might be delayed. He said that the focus should be on progress made, rather than obstacles remaining.

On 29 September the Council adopted a presidential statement expressing concern about the delay in the publication of the provisional voters list, and reiterated that Ivorian political actors were bound to respect the electoral timetable. The Council indicated that it would review the situation by 15 October, and to “react as appropriate … towards those who would block the progress of the electoral process.”

Human Rights-Related Developments

In its efforts to overcome an entrenched culture of impunity, UNOCI’s Human Rights Division has been monitoring and helping to investigate human rights violations, particularly violence against children and women. Other priorities include: raising human rights awareness among target groups such as the defence and security forces, public servants, women and children, supporting the functioning of the newly established national human rights commission and the implementation of the government’s human rights priority action plans.

The Human Rights Council will conduct its Universal Periodic Review of Côte d’Ivoire on 3 December.

Key Issues
Recent delays in publishing the electoral list and Choi’s reported comments about a possible delay of the election date have resulted in concern among Council members about the issue of whether the 29 November date for presidential election in Côte d’Ivoire will be postponed (two previous dates set for holding the elections were missed in 2005 and 2008).

In this context Council members will be all the more concerned about the issue of the mandate of UNOCI.

Other issues for consideration include the sanctions regime on Côte d’Ivoire and the renewal of the mandate of the Group of Experts. Resolution 1842, adopted on 29 October 2008, requires the Council to review the sanction measures “in light of progress achieved in the implementation of the key steps of the peace process and of the progress of the electoral process” before they expire.

Another issue in the background is whether the Council should begin active consideration of placing the country (still in a state of flux in terms of peace consolidation) on the agenda of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC). A related question is whether the technical and socioeconomic challenges confronting the electoral and peace processes suggest the need for enhanced peacebuilding action. This issue is directly within the Council’s ambit. The case for more effective coordination and coherent resource mobilisation during this period could be considered as part of measures to move the peace process forward, especially since Côte d’Ivoire requested last year to be placed on the agenda of the PBC.

Options
Options for the Council include:

  • adopting a further statement in October on the elections, reinforcing the strong language of its September presidential statement;
  • deciding on a simple renewal of the sanctions regime as well as the mandate of the Group of Experts without modifications, which is a likely option;
  • alternatively modifying the sanctions regime and adding new names to induce compliance with the peace process;
  • reducing the scope of application of the sanctions, to recognise progress already made (this option is perhaps more likely after a successful election);
  • beginning the process of PBC engagement to facilitate enhanced peace consolidation; and
  • implementing the penultimate paragraph of its presidential statement of 5 August (S/PRST/2009/24), in which it recognised the importance of introducing peacebuilding elements in peacekeeping operations before transfer to PBC.

Council Dynamics
Council members seem agreed on the need to monitor the electoral situation closely and proactively in order to keep it on track. Their request in resolution 1880 for the Secretary-General to provide an update on developments signalled a stronger resolve to keep the issue under close scrutiny. It also showed determination to press Ivorian political leaders to adhere to the political timetable in the lead-up to the presidential elections.

Members are concerned about reports of a possible delay in holding the presidential elections. France said during the 30 July meeting that the “Council will not allow itself to be tricked by technical ploys” and if the 29 November elections were to be delayed, “the parties responsible will be clearly identified, and the Security Council will draw the necessary conclusions.” The Secretary-General’s upcoming report will be an influencing factor in their discussions.

Most Council members appear ready to keep the sanctions regime in place and renew the mandate of the Group of Experts.

Burkina Faso and France are the lead countries in the Council on this issue.

UN Documents

Selected Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1880 (30 July 2009) extended the mandate of UNOCI until 31 January 2010.
  • S/RES/1842 (29 October 2008) extended the sanctions regime until 31 October 2009 and decided that any obstruction to the electoral process would be subject to sanctions.
  • S/RES/1643 (15 December 2005) renewed until 15 December 2006 the sanctions regime and established sanctions on diamonds.

Selected Presidential Statements

  • S/PRST/2009/25 (29 September) was a presidential statement expressing concern about the delay in the publication of the Ivorian electoral list and expressing the Council’s intention to review the situation by 15 October 2009.
  • S/PRST/2009/16 (29 May 2009) was a presidential statement welcoming the CPC’s 18 May communiqué.
  • S/PRST/2008/42 (7 November 2008) expressed deep concern about the postponement of presidential elections, urged the Ivorian parties to complete the identification and registration of voters operations before the end of January 2009 and expressed its determination to fully support the electoral process on the understanding that elections will be organised before the end of spring 2009.
  • 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.

Latest Secretary-General’s Report

Selected Letters

  • S/2009/446 (4 September 2009) was the letter from the Secretary-General to the president of the Council providing an update on the preparation of the provisional electoral list for the Ivorian presidential election.
  • S/2009/5 (5 January 2009) and S/2008/793 (16 December 2008) were the letters from the Secretary-General appointing experts to the Côte d’Ivoire Sanction Committee’s Group of Experts.
  • S/2008/834 (30 December 2008) was the letter containing the fourth supplementary agreement to the Ouagadougou Agreement.
  • S/2008/694 (11 November 2008) was a letter from Burkina Faso transmitting the press statement of the 10 November CPC meeting in Ouagadougou.

Other

  • S/PV.6168 (23 July 2009) was the latest briefing by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Choi Young-jin, on the situation in Côte d’Ivoire.
  • 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)

Force Commander

Major-General Fernand Marcel Amoussou (Benin)

Police Commissioner

Major-General Gerardo Cristian Chaumont (Argentina)

Chair of the Sanctions Committee

Claude Heller (Mexico)

Group of Experts

El Hadi Salah, Algeria (customs and coordinator of the Group of Experts)
Grégoire Bafouatika, Republic of Congo (aviation)
James Bevan, UK (arms)
Joel Hernando Salek, Colombia (finance)
Noora Jamsheer, Bahrain (diamonds)

Size and Composition of UNOCI

  • Strength as of 30 July 2009: 8,394 total uniformed personnel, including 7,024 troops, 198 military observers; 1,172 police; supported by 407 international civilian personnel, 426 local staff and 288 UN Volunteers
  • Key troop-contributing countries: Bangladesh, Ghana, Jordan, Morocco and Pakistan.

Approved Budget

1 July 2009-30 June 2010: $491.77 million

Full forecast