Conflict Prevention: Horizon Scanning
The UK is planning to invite Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe to consultations early in the month for a “horizon scanning session”. This could stimulate an overview discussion focusing on issues of concern in November including ones that may not be on the Council agenda for the month.
This session could help ensure that the Council is better primed for conflict-prevention action by offering a proactive and non-crisis-mode assessment of some possible threats, both new and existing, to international peace and security. It reinforces wider efforts by the African Council members and others, including Brazil and Turkey, to move the Council toward more conflict prevention rather than its current heavy focus on conflict management.
This interactive session will also be part of an effort that has been championed by several presidencies over the course of the year to encourage greater dialogue in and a more unscripted nature of Council consultations. Pascoe will be expected to highlight his greatest current concerns and engage members in a discussion.
This development is not a new procedure. It represents a potential return to procedures which were routine in the Council in the 1990s (please see section 2 of our 30 March Special Research Report Security Council Working Methods—A Work in Progress?).
At press time there were no clearly articulated objections by Council members to the initiative, and the cited rationale of getting the Council to be proactive in addressing latent threats to international peace and security seemed to be a compelling argument. It is not certain, however, where all Council members stand on this in the long-term. It remains to be seen whether members will remain committed to this during their presidencies of the Council and make it an established Council practice.