December 2010 Monthly Forecast

Posted 1 December 2010
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AFRICA

West Africa (UNOWA)

Expected Council Action
In December the Council is expected to consider the Secretary-General’s report on UNOWA and to renew the mandate of the mission, which expires on 31 December. The head of UNOWA, Said Djinnit, may brief the Council.

Key Recent Developments
On 18 November the head of the UN Office for West Africa (UNOWA) briefed Council members in consultations on the latest developments in Guinea, in the wake of the 15 November announcement of the provisional results in the second round of the country’s presidential elections and the 17 November declaration of a state of emergency by the government.

In a statement to the press after the meeting, the Council president indicated that members had:

  • welcomed the run-off in Guinea’s presidential elections on 7 November and the high voter turnout;
  • deplored the violence that erupted following the announcement of the results of the run-off elections and urged political leaders in the country to refrain from actions likely to worsen tensions;
  • took note of the provisional results of the run-off elections announced by the electoral commission and appealed to all parties to follow the existing legal procedure to resolve their differences peacefully and respect the final decision to be announced by the country’s Supreme Court;
  • stressed the responsibility of Guinea’s security forces and government officials to maintain public order and to protect civilians; and
  • paid tribute to the facilitation work being carried out by Djinnit and welcomed the determination of Guinea’s interim leader, General Sékouba Konaté, to pursue peaceful elections.

On 30 September, Djinnit chaired a meeting of senior UN mission officials from Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia and Sierra Leone in Dakar, Senegal during which the participants drew up joint plans to enhance stability in the West African subregion, in light of the then-upcoming elections (e.g. in Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea), and challenges posed by drug trafficking and organised crime.

On 13 July, Djinnit briefed the Council on the overall peace and stability of the West African subregion, which he described as having witnessed “significant progress in crisis prevention and peacebuilding amidst daunting difficulties and persistent challenges.” Djinnit told the Council that despite significant progress in peace consolidation, the subregion remained “at a crossroads, owing to the persistence of the root causes of conflicts in the region, such as social disparities, ethnic tensions and governance challenges.”

Key Issues
The key issue for Council members in December is assessing whether and how well UNOWA’s regional approach to peace consolidation in West Africa is working in such areas as mediation, elections and responses to challenges to peace and security.

A closely related issue is whether the Council to further fine-tune the mandate of UNOWA, beyond simply renewing its mandate, and enhance the office’s capacity for operations on the ground.

Council Dynamics
Council opinion on UNOWA has seen a marked shift since late 2007, when some members (e.g. the US) questioned the utility of the office. The current view is that the office is useful, especially in monitoring and addressing issues that threaten the subregion’s peace and security but may not be on the Council’s agenda, lack a UN mission or do not come up for regular consideration (e.g. Guinea, Niger, Togo, drug trafficking, organised crime and terrorism in the Sahel region of West Africa).

The question therefore for most Council members is not whether to renew UNOWA’s mandate, but rather how they could further fine-tune the mandate of the office and how long the mandate should be.

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

UN Documents

Selected Presidential Statements

  • S/PRST/2009/32 (8 December 2009) was on threats posed by drug trafficking.
  • S/PRST/2009/20 (10 July 2009) was on the situation in West Africa.
  • S/PRST/2009/11 (5 May 2009) expressed concern about the resurgence of unconstitutional changes of government in Africa.

Selected Letters

  • S/2008/128 (26 February 2008) and S/2008/127 (21 February 2008) was an exchange of letters between the Secretary-General and the Council regarding the appointment of Said Djinnit as special representative for West Africa and head of UNOWA.
  • S/2007/754 (21 December 2007) and S/2007/753 (28 November 2007) was an exchange of letters between the Secretary-General and the Council regarding the extension of UNOWA until 31 December 2010 and more frequent reporting.
  • S/2001/1129 (29 November 2001) welcomed the intention of the Secretary-General to establish UNOWA.

Selected Secretary-General’s Reports

  • S/2010/324 (21 June 2010) was the most recent report on UNOWA.
  • S/2007/143 (13 March 2007) was on cross-border issues in West Africa.
  • S/2004/797 (4 October 2004) was a review of the activities and performance of UNOWA spanning the period from January 2003 to July 2004.

Other

  • S/PV.6358 (13 July 2010) was the latest briefing on UNOWA to the Council.

Selected UNOWA Studies and Concept Papers

Available at http://www.un.org/unowa/unowa/studies/studies-cp.htm

  • Working Document on Sanctions in Africa (June 2007)
  • Security Landscape and Peace Consolidation in West Africa (March 2007)
  • Youth Unemployment and Regional Insecurity in West Africa – A UNOWA Issue Paper, 2nd edition (August 2006)
  • Life after State House: Addressing Unconstitutional Changes in West Africa – A UNOWA Issue Paper (March 2006)
  • Youth Unemployment and Regional Insecurity in West Africa – A UNOWA Issue Paper, 1st edition (December 2005)
  • Elections scheduled between April 2005 and December 2007 in West Africa (June 2005)
  • Security Sector Reform and Conflict Prevention in West Africa: Challenges and Opportunities – Dakar Workshop (November 2004)
  • The Regional Impact of the Crisis in Côte d’Ivoire (April 2004)

Other Relevant Facts

Special Representative of the Secretary-General

Said Djinnit (Algeria)

UNOWA: Size and Composition

Staff Strength (as of 30 April 2010): 13 international civilians; ten local civilians; four military advisers

UNOWA: Duration

29 November 2001 to present; mandate expires on 31 December 2010.

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