February 2011 Monthly Forecast

Posted 28 January 2011
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Guinea-Bissau

Expected Council Action

In February the Council is expected to consider a report on Guinea-Bissau, and the head of the UN office, Joseph Mutaboba, will likely brief the Council. The mandate of UNIOGBIS expires on 31 December.

Key Recent Developments
Guinea-Bissau has continued to experience serious problems. Little progress has been made in the political process on security sector reform (SSR).

On 17 December 2010 the then-interior minister of Guinea-Bissau, Adja Satu Camara Pinto, wrote to Prime Minister Carlos Gomes to inform him of her decision to resign, to help “in the resolution of the crisis.” (In October 2010, Gomes had suspended Pinto from her duties for having appointed deputy directors at her ministry without his authorisation, but she initially refused to accept her suspension and continued to work as a minister of state. She has been associated with the inner circle of Guinea-Bissau President Malam Bacai Sanhá, who has been involved in a power struggle with Gomes over the control of the ruling party—the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde.)

On 20 December 2010 the EU initiated action that could result in cuts in aid to Guinea-Bissau, stating that the step was a signal about the need for democratic principles, including bringing an end to illegal detention and impunity. (The EU has allocated 120 million euros to Guinea-Bissau up to 2013.)

On 23 December 2010 the Government of Guinea-Bissau released the former head of the armed forces, Rear Admiral Jose Zamora Induta, and six other officers from prison, citing humanitarian reasons. Induta had been held in detention since the military mutiny of 1 April 2010.

On 18 January the government announced that it will increase surveillance of airstrips believed to be used by drug traffickers and also threatened to shoot down any aircraft that flew illegally over its air space. Guinea-Bissau has a total of 24 airfields, some of which have in the past reportedly been used by South American drug cartels, as transit points for trafficking illicit drugs to Europe.

On 5 November 2010, the Council was last briefed by Mutaboba on developments in the country and on the work of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS). He said that various bilateral and multilateral partners (including the Economic Community of West African States [ECOWAS] and the Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries [CPLP]) were working in support of a “nationally-owned holistic approach to SSR and efforts to protect and stabilise key state institutions and sustain a genuine and inclusive political dialogue among and within the leadership and opposition in Guinea-Bissau.”

The special representative of the chairperson of the AU Commission for Guinea-Bissau, Sebastião Isata, also participated in the meeting. He noted that the Government of Guinea-Bissau had announced on 14 October its decision to accept the deployment of a joint AU-ECOWAS stabilisation mission, with a mandate for further peacebuilding and stability, as well as post-conflict reconstruction and development. The government also accepted the AU proposal for the creation of a truth and reconciliation commission as the last stage of the envisaged National Reconciliation Conference.

Brazil Ambassador, Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, in her capacity as the chair of the Guinea-Bissau configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC), stated that the government’s response to the 1 April 2010 military insurrection had raised concerns in the international community. She, however, indicated that there appeared to be consensus that continued engagement with Guinea-Bissau was necessary to assist the country in building democratic governance and effectively addressing key challenges.

João Soares Da Gama, Guinea-Bissau’s ambassador, also participated in the meeting and said the Guineans were aware of their primary responsibility for development and stability in the country, however, in spite of the government’s efforts, Guinea-Bissau remained “dependent on international solidarity, assistance and cooperation.”

On 23 November 2010 the Council extended the mandate of UNIOGBIS until 31 December 2011. The Council also:

  • called on the government to conclude the investigations into the political assassinations of March and June 2009, and to ensure the prosecution of those responsible for criminal acts;
  • reiterated its call upon the authorities to release immediately all those detained in the events of 1 April 2010 or prosecute them with full respect for due process;
  • welcomed the ECOWAS-CPLP partnership, anticipated the final endorsement by ECOWAS of its road map (developed by its Chiefs of Defence Staff to, among other things, provide training and protection to Guinea-Bissau state institutions within the framework of SSR and as part of the stabilisation of the country’s political and security environment) and requested the Secretary-General, through his special representative, to present it with comprehensive information detailing the proposed modalities, timing and resources relating to the implementation of the ECOWAS road map;
  • requested the Secretary-General to engage with ECOWAS and CPLP with a view to undertaking a joint assessment of the requirements to support the rapid implementation of the road map once it is endorsed by ECOWAS;
  • requested the Secretary-General to develop a strategic work plan with appropriate benchmarks to measure and track progress on the implementation of the UNIOGBIS mandate; and
  • requested the Secretary-General to report on progress made in implementing the mandate of UNIOGBIS and include in his first report details of progress made in undertaking the joint assessment and the implementation of the road map, once it is endorsed by ECOWAS.

On 24 November the Mediation and Security Council of ECOWAS adopted the road map and submitted it to the organisation’s heads of state and government for endorsement and action. At press time, however, the road map had not yet been endorsed, perhaps because of the attention being diverted because of the deteriorating security situation in Côte d’Ivoire.

Developments in the PBC
On 22 November the Guinea-Bissau PBC configuration met to consider how international partners could best re-engage with the country regarding peace consolidation, especially SSR. Discussions also touched on the details of the release of the next tranche of funds for the country from the Peacebuilding Fund.

Key Issues
A key issue for the Council will be whether to respond to developments in Guinea-Bissau in the absence of progress by ECOWAS on the road map. A closely related issue from the Secretary-General’s report is how to respond to the need for a joint assessment of the requirements to support the rapid implementation of the ECOWAS road map. It is unclear whether this assessment will have been undertaken by the time of its meeting on Guinea-Bissau in February.

Another key issue is how far the Council will go in terms of reinforcing the PBC, especially keeping the SSR process on track.

An important global issue is the emerging problem of the drug trafficking and organised crime in Guinea-Bissau.

Underlying Problems
Perennially weak state institutions have greatly undermined good governance in Guinea-Bissau.

Options
Options for the Council include:

  • deciding to interact much more closely with the PBC on issues relating to Guinea-Bissau;
  • issuing a statement to signal its continued concern that the peace consolidation process must remain on track; or
  • adopting a wait-and-see stance and following closely developments on the ground.

Council Dynamics
Council members await the Secretary-General’s report to inform its role going forward. Some members are concerned about the absence on response to the matters that the Council raised in its November resolution. Most remain cautious about reports of some progress on the ground, including the recent release of military officials which the Council has been calling for in its recent decisions. Real progress has yet to be shown on core issues affecting stability in Guinea-Bissau. Many have reservations about the fact that the leader of the 1 April military insurrection, General Antonio Indjai, continues to serve as the head of the country’s armed forces (Indjai, who had previously been the deputy armed forces chief, had assumed de facto charge of the army following the mutiny and was subsequently formally appointed armed forces chief by Sanha). Most members seem open, however, to lending their support to any feasible initiative to strengthen peace consolidation.

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

UN Documents

Selected Security Council Resolution

  • S/RES/1949 (23 November 2010) renewed the mandate of UNIOGBIS until 31 December 2011.

Selected Presidential Statement

  • S/PRST/2010/15 (22 July 2010) expressed concern at the prevailing security situation in Guinea-Bissau and stressed the need for genuine security SSR in the country.

Selected Letters

  • S/2008/208 (25 March 2008) was from the chairperson of the PBC to the president of the Security Council providing advice on peacebuilding priorities for Guinea-Bissau.
  • S/2008/87 (28 December 2007) was from the chair of the PBC informing the president of the Council about the placement of Guinea-Bissau on the PBC’s agenda.

Latest Secretary-General’s Report

Latest Meeting Record

Other Relevant Facts

Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNIOGBIS

Joseph Mutaboba (Rwanda)

Duration

1 January 2010 to present; mandate expires on 31 December 2011

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