November 2009 Monthly Forecast

Posted 2 November 2009
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Guinea-Bissau

Expected Council Action
In November the Council is expected to consider the next report of the Secretary-General on the UN Peacebuilding Support Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNOGBIS). (The mandate of UNOGBIS expires on 31 December. It will be succeeded by the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS) with an initial mandate period of 12 months, as authorised in June by resolution 1876.)

Key Recent Developments
Political violence against high-profile personalities in Guinea-Bissau resurged on 5 June when armed men killed presidential candidate Baciro Dabό and Helder , a former government minister and member of parliament, as well as his driver and a bodyguard. The local authorities later said that both politicians had been resisting arrest over involvement in an alleged coup attempt. (These killings followed the assassination of the president and head of the army in March.)

On 9 June the Council issued a press statement:

  • expressing concern over the resurgence of political violence and condemning the killings;
  • calling on the government of Guinea-Bissau to bring to justice those responsible for those violent acts and emphasising the importance of the fight against impunity in Guinea-Bissau; and
  • calling on the international community to work closely with the government to support the investigations into the pattern of killings of high-profile personalities in the country, and to ensure the holding of free, fair and transparent presidential elections.

(Similar condemnations of the assassinations came from the Secretary-General, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the AU, the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPLP) and the EU.)

On 23 June the Council was briefed by the head of UNOGBIS, Joseph Mutaboba, on the Secretary-General’s report on the mission and the political and military tensions in the wake of the March and June assassinations. Mutaboba indicated that there was widespread scepticism in the country over reports that Dabό and Proença were killed because they resisted arrest during an alleged coup attempt on 5 June. He indicated that six individuals were detained at different military facilities in Bissau in relation to the alleged June coup attempt, and that they included the director of the intelligence services “because he refused to sign the intelligence communiqué of 5 June on the existence of a coup attempt.”

Mutaboba urged the Council to support the Secretary-General’s recommendations for the establishment of an integrated UN peacebuilding office to succeed UNOGBIS. He said that this would ensure effective coordination, through the facility of the office, of the hitherto various and separate strategies and programmes between the UN agencies, funds and programmes, between the UN and international donors and between the integrated office, ECOWAS, and other UN missions in the subregion.

The chair of the PBC’s Guinea-Bissau configuration, Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti of Brazil, briefed the Council. She also advised on the need for continued peacebuilding engagement before and after the presidential elections, which were held in June.

On 26 June the Council adopted resolution 1876 extending the mandate of UNOGBIS until 31 December. The Council requested the Secretary-General to establish UNIOGBIS for an initial period of 12 months after that. The mandate of UNIOGBIS will include:

  • assisting the PBC “in its work in addressing critical peacebuilding needs in Guinea-Bissau”;
  • strengthening the capacities of national institutions in order to maintain constitutional order, public security and the full respect for the rule of law;
  • assisting national authorities to combat drug trafficking and organised crime, human trafficking, as well as efforts to curb the proliferation of small arms and light weapons; and
  • enhancing cooperation with the AU, ECOWAS, the CPLP, the EU and other partners in their efforts to contribute to the stabilisation of Guinea-Bissau.

The Council also requested the Secretary-General to develop a strategic work plan with appropriate benchmarks to measure and track progress on the implementation of the mandate of UNIOGBIS in his next report, and to inform it every four months on progress with establishing the UNIOGBIS, with the first report due by 31 October.

On 28 June presidential elections were held in Guinea-Bissau. Malam Bacai Sanhá of the governing African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) and Kumba Yalá of the opposition Social Renewal Party (PRS) won the highest number of votes during the first round of votes, but neither achieved an outright majority.

After a run-off on 26 July, Sanhá was declared the winner with 63 percent of the votes. He was inaugurated as president of Guinea-Bissau on 8 September.

Developments in the Peacebuilding Commission
On 16 June the Guinea-Bissau configuration issued a statement (PBC/3/GNB/6) condemning the assassinations of Dabό and Proença.

The chair of the Guinea-Bissau configuration visited the country to attend the inauguration of Sanhá on 8 September and subsequently reported to the Commission on the outcome of her visit, saying a window of opportunity arising from the peaceful elections existed in Guinea-Bissau and that it merited increased international assistance.

The PBC’s work to assess progress with the country’s integrated peacebuilding framework was put on hold until its biannual assessment of the situation in the country originally scheduled for June, in order to focus on other immediate priorities like the successful holding of new presidential elections. However, at press time, the biannual assessment had not yet been held but a review process had been started in the country by national authorities and UNOGBIS regarding the country’s peacebuilding priorities. There was also an ongoing information gathering exercise by the country-specific configuration from its members in New York to review the implementation of PBC commitments regarding the country. (This process is expected to end in mid-December, following the configuration’s upcoming annual field trip to Guinea-Bissau.)

Key Issues
The key issues for the Council include:

  • the transition from UNOGBIS to UNIOGBIS;
  • the fragile security and political situation in the country;
  • the progress which the newly elected government is making in establishing a stable environment; and
  • the issues of impunity addressed in its June statement.

Options
Options for Council action in November include:

  • a statement giving encouragement to the new government and urging action on the issues raised in its June statement; and
  • waiting to see how the situation consolidates with perhaps a statement in December or January to mark the termination of the UNOGBIS mandate.

Council Dynamics
The unanimous decision to transform UNOGBIS into an integrated UN mission has displayed Council members’ support for the concept. This past year’s dramatic political violence and major challenges in Guinea-Bissau, as well the additional functions that the new mission is expected to assume, galvanised the Council into adopting the resolution without dissent.

Looking ahead, Brazil, an incoming member of the Council for 2010-2011, is expected to again take the lead on this issue in the Council given its leading role as a member of the CPLP and the chair of the PBC country-specific configuration for Guinea-Bissau. Burkina Faso is the current lead country but is leaving the Council at the end of this year.

UN Documents

Selected Security Council Resolution

  • S/RES/1876 (26 June 2009) renewed the mandate of UNOGBIS until 31 December 2009 and requested the Secretary-General to establish UNIOGBIS beginning on 1 January 2010 for an initial period of 12 months.
  • 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 (3 March 1999) welcomed the Secretary-General’s proposal to establish UNOGBIS.

Selected Report on UNOGBIS

PBC Documents

  • PBC/3/GNB/6 (16 June 2009) condemned the assassinations of Dabό and Proença.
  • 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 (2 December 2008) was the PBC’s latest conclusions and recommendations on the situation in Guinea-Bissau adopted on 26 November 2008.

Other

  • S/PV.6149 (23 June 2009) was the verbatim record of 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.
  • SC/9677 (9 June 2009) was the Council press statement condemning the political killings in Guinea-Bissau on 5 June.
  • S/2009/120 (3 March 2009) was the letter from the presidency of the CPLP 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 and local civilians, military advisers and a police adviser

Duration

3 March 1999 to present; mandate expires on 31 December 2009.

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