December 2010 Monthly Forecast

Posted 1 December 2010
Download Complete Forecast: PDF

Conflict Prevention in Africa

Expected Council Action
The Council is expected to renew the mandate of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa, which expires on 31 December 2010. The renewal is expected to take place by the close of the year following consultations among the Council—likely to be announced in a presidential note.

Key Recent Developments
By the end of 2010, the working group, chaired by Uganda, will have held four meetings:

  • Adoption of its programme of work and priorities.
  • 20 July—closed consultations with the UN Department of Political Affairs (DPA) upon the creation of the UN Office in Central Africa.
  • 16 August—an open interactive panel discussion on the “role of conflict early warning and response mechanisms in the prevention and resolution of conflicts in Africa,” with panellists from DPA, Intergovernmental Authority for Development and Economic Community of West African States.
  • 2 December—an open interactive briefing on security sector reform.

On 16 July, during the Nigeria presidency the Council held an open debate on “optimising the use of preventive diplomacy tools: prospects and challenges in Africa.” The presidential statement issued recognised the value that the working group added to “the process of embedding preventive diplomacy practices into the UN’s conflict management architecture.” (The concept note for the debate had asked participants to consider how best to mobilise the working group to launch a concrete initiative, in partnership with key regional actors, to achieve optimal use of preventive diplomacy tools in specific pre-conflict situations.)

On 22 October, the Council under the Uganda presidency held an open debate on assistance to AU peacekeeping. The Secretary-General’s report:

  • highlighted that annual exchanges between the Council and AU Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) would be more useful with improved preparation and follow-up mechanisms; and
  • proposed that the Council consider using the working group as an informal secretariat for the joint meetings.

Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Japan and Nigeria noted this concept positively in their statements. However, the working group was not mentioned, in this or any other capacity, in the presidential statement issued.

Key Issues
The immediate issue is whether to renew the mandate of the working group. A related issue is how to better utilise the working group as a tool to improve the Council’s consideration of situations in Africa.

The Council could renew the mandate of the working group:

  • without any change to its mandate;
  • adding new elements to its mandate, perhaps related to the recommendations of the Secretary-General; or
  • flagging the potential of the working group to decide to revisit its mandate in the future.

Council Dynamics
Uganda’s goals for the working group were to strengthen the working relationship between the Council and the AU and its subregional organisations on the issues of conflict prevention and resolution and peacebuilding in Africa and to focus on how better to support countries emerging from conflict to avoid relapse. Nigeria and Gabon have been supportive of these goals and interact frequently with Uganda on ways the working group can be used to advance conflict prevention priorities.

The wider membership of the Council is in general supportive of the working group. Some express the view that the potential exists for it to do more. But there are also some sceptics. There was resistance within the Council in October to endorsing a new role for the working group in the context of joint Council/AUPSC meetings.

In general it seems that Council members are ready to continue the working group in 2011 but it will be necessary to decide a new chair, as Uganda leaves the Council at the end of 2010. Past practice has been to select an African member. Nigeria may seek this role, given its demonstrated interest in the issue of conflict prevention. South Africa chaired the working group in 2008 and may seek to return to that role.

Sign up for SCR emails
UN Documents

Selected Security Council Resolution

  • S/RES/1625 (14 September 2005) was a declaration on the Security Council’s role in conflict prevention.

Selected Presidential Statements

  • S/PRST/2010/21 (22 October 2010) was on assistance to AU peacekeeping.
  • S/PRST/2010/14 (16 July 2010) requested the Secretary-General to submit recommendations on how best to utilise preventive diplomacy tools within the UN system.

Selected Letter

  • S/2010/371 (9 July 2010) was the concept note prepared by Nigeria for the debate it chaired on conflict prevention in Africa.

Selected Secretary-General’s Report

  • S/2010/514 (14 October 2010) was on support to AU peacekeeping operations authorised by the UN.


  • S/PV.6409 (22 October 2010) was the debate on support for AU peacekeeping.
  • S/PV.6360 and resumption 1 (16 July 2010) was an open debate on “optimising the use of preventive diplomacy tools: prospects and challenges in Africa.”
  • S/2009/650 (15 December 2009) was the presidential note extending the work of the working group until 31 December 2010.
  • S/2002/207 (1 March 2002) outlined the terms of reference and mandate for the working group.


Other Relevant Fact

Chair of the Working Group

Ruhakana Rugunda (Uganda) since January 2009

Full forecast

Subscribe to receive SCR publications