January 2010 Monthly Forecast

Posted 30 December 2009
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AFRICA

Côte d’Ivoire

Expected Council Action
In January the Council is expected to consider the Secretary-General’s report on the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) and to renew the mandate of UNOCI, which expires on 31 January. The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Côte d’Ivoire, Choi Young-jin, is likely to brief the Council.

Key Recent Developments
On 29 October 2009 the Council renewed for another year the arms embargo and diamond trade ban in Côte d’Ivoire, as well as targeted sanctions restricting the travel of individuals. It indicated that it would review these measures contingent on the holding of free and fair presidential elections and progress in implementing key steps of the 2007 Ouagadougou Agreement aimed at resolving Côte d’Ivoire’s armed conflict.

Afterwards the Permanent Representative of Côte d’Ivoire, Ambassador Ilahiri Alcide Djédjé, expressed disappointment because the government had expected a clear commitment by the Council to lift sanctions after the presidential elections. He said that while the AU had initiated sanctions against his country in 2004, it and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had subsequently been pushing for their lifting. On 24 April 2009 the Ivorian delegation had requested the Council to review sanctions imposed on certain Ivorian political actors, taking into account the current context of peace and reconciliation and the commitment of those individuals to achieving those goals.

On 23 November 2009 the Ivorian Independent Electoral Commission published the provisional list of voters. (The list was originally scheduled to be published by the end of August 2009 but was delayed because of technical difficulties.)

Also on 23 November the head of UNOCI, Choi Young-jin, following a visit to centres in Abidjan where the provisional electoral list had been posted, indicated that UNOCI had analysed the list and had not detected any political manipulation. Choi said the provisional list provided a good basis for a definitive electoral list.

At the sixth meeting of the Permanent Consultative Framework (Cadre permanent de concertation, or CPC) of the Ouagadougou Agreement on 3 December 2009, the main Ivorian political actors decided to postpone the first round of presidential elections until the end of February or the beginning of March 2010 due to technical and financial constraints. The CPC members endorsed the following stages, recommended by the chairman of the Ivorian Independent Electoral Commission:

  • handling complaints regarding the provisional electoral list in December 2009;
  • preparing and issuing the final electoral list, the lists of persons authorised to vote at each polling station, voter registration cards and national identity cards in January 2010;
  • issuing voter registration and national identity cards and electoral campaigning in February 2010; and
  • holding the first round of the presidential elections in late February or early March 2010.

The CPC invited the Electoral Commission to propose to the government a date for the first round of the presidential election as soon as possible, while taking these stages into account. (The CPC was established in 2007 following the Ouagadougou Agreement and involves Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo, former rebel Forces nouvelles leader Prime Minister Guillaume Soro and the leaders of the main opposition parties, former prime minister Alassane Ouattara and former president Henri Konan Bédié.)

On 7 December 2009 Council members were briefed during consultations by the UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Alain Le Roy, on the situation in the country. His briefing highlighted the conclusions of the sixth meeting of the CPC.

On 8 December 2009 the Council adopted a presidential statement in response to the decision to delay the election till the end of February or the beginning of March 2010. It urged Ivorian actors to address remaining tasks and to hold open, free, fair and transparent presidential elections at the earliest possible date.

On 18 December UNOCI announced that it was taking action to investigate allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation among its military personnel, with some incidents dating back to 2006.

Human Rights-Related Developments

The UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review Working Group evaluated the fulfilment of human rights obligations by Côte d’Ivoire on 3 December. The Working Group noted that concrete steps had been taken towards improving human rights, and encouraged Côte d’Ivoire to make further improvements on a number of fronts, including ending impunity from prosecution for acts of violence.

In response to the review, Côte d’Ivoire indicated that once it was out of the current crisis it intended to focus on reinforcing the rule of law. It accepted over one hundred recommendations made during the review, some of which had already been put into effect, and undertook to examine and respond to a further forty recommendations.

Key Issues
The latest in a series of postponement of presidential elections and ongoing security concerns underscore the fragility of the situation ahead of the upcoming expiration of UNOCI’s mandate. The key issue for the Council will be whether to adjust the mission’s mandate in January or wait until after the elections.

A second likely issue will be how best to use the January resolution to respond to the challenges in the political process and to signal the Council’s resolve for elections to be held without further delay.

A third issue will be to schedule a review process once a new date for the elections is announced by the Ivorian authorities in view of the related issue arising from concerns over whether the new timeline will be realistic.

Options
Options for the Council include:

  • renewing UNOCI’s mandate without any change for another six months (or a possibly less);
  • reinforcing UNOCI’s mandate relating to the election process;
  • reiterating its position about the unacceptability of repeated delays in the voter identification and registration processes, and requiring the Ivorian parties to make more progress in order to conduct polls in early 2010; and
  • setting some timelines for ongoing Council monitoring and perhaps even considering a visit to Côte d’Ivoire by a small Council mission.

Council Dynamics
Council members remain concerned about the latest delay in holding the presidential elections. But they also recognise the importance of holding credible rather than hasty elections in order to ensure durable peace. Nonetheless, members remain committed to ensuring that the political actors stay the course. They recently demonstrated this resolve by maintaining the sanctions measures against individuals despite requests to the contrary by the government of Côte d’Ivoire, the AU and ECOWAS.

In its repeated requests (including in its most recent presidential statement) for the Secretary-General to provide an update on developments in the country and options for the future direction of UNOCI, the Council has signalled resolve to keep the issue under close scrutiny and to press Ivorian political leaders to adhere to the political process leading up to the elections.

Council members are expected to renew the mandate of UNOCI, but there are questions in some minds whether this would be for a full six months or less. The Secretary-General’s upcoming report (as well as the date to be set by the government for the elections) is expected to largely influence the Council’s decision.

It remains to be seen whether Council dynamics will change in 2010 with the exit of Burkina Faso (the facilitator of the Ivorian peace process). The entry in January of Nigeria (a prominent member of ECOWAS) is also relevant.

France is the lead country on this issue in the Council.

UN Documents

Selected Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1893 (29 October 2009) renewed the Côte d’Ivoire sanctions regime until 31 October 2010.
  • 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.

Selected Presidential Statements

  • S/PRST/2009/33 (8 December 2009) noted with concern the postponement of the first round of the presidential election, scheduled for 29 November 2009.
  • S/PRST/2009/25 (29 September 2009) expressed 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) welcomed the CPC’s 18 May communiqué.
  • S/PRST/2008/42 (7 November 2008) expressed the Council’s 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 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 from the Secretary-General appointing experts to the Côte d’Ivoire Sanction Committee’s Group of Experts.
  • S/2008/834 (30 December 2008) contained the fourth supplementary agreement to the Ouagadougou Agreement.

Other

  • S/2009/626 (7 December 2009) contained the press statement of the sixth meeting of the CPC of the Ouagadougou Agreement.
  • S/PV.6209 (29 October 2009) was the verbatim record of the latest meeting of the Council on the situation in Côte d’Ivoire.
  • S/2007/144 (13 March 2007) contained the Ouagadougou Agreement.

Other Relevant Factors

Special Representative of the Secretary-General

Choi Young-jin (Republic of Korea)

Force Commander

Major General Abdul Hafiz (Bangladesh)

Police Commissioner

Major-General Gerardo Cristian Chaumont (Argentina)

Chair of the Sanctions Committee

Claude Heller (Mexico)

Size and Composition of UNOCI

  • Strength as of 31 October 2009: 8,378 total uniformed personnel, including 7,028 troops, 192 military observers; 1,158 police; supported by 406 international civilian personnel, 633 local staff and 303 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