June 2011 Monthly Forecast

Posted 31 May 2011
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Guinea-Bissau

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

Key Recent Developments
Mutaboba last briefed the Council on 25 February on developments in Guinea-Bissau. He noted that while there had been progress in the political and security spheres, the situation in the country remained tenuous and complex.

He highlighted four key issues:

  • the need to enhance the stability of state institutions and to jump-start implementation of the security sector reform programme for the defence sector;
  • the national dialogue and conference process;
  • impunity, drug trafficking and organised crime; and
  • the complex relationship between the international community and the authorities of Guinea-Bissau.

Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Júnior of Guinea-Bissau, who also participated in the meeting, briefed the Council on the evolution of the situation in his country, including the political, socioeconomic and international challenges confronting it.

The Council issued a press statement:

  • welcoming the release of those previously detained in connection with the army mutiny of 1 April 2010; 
  • expressing continued concern at the insecurity and growth in transnational organised crime, including illicit drug trafficking, and reiterating the need to tackle the problem of illicit drug trafficking in the countries of origin, transit and final destination;
  • emphasising the need for Guinea-Bissau to intensify efforts in creating an enabling environment for enhanced civilian control and reform of the security sector, fighting impunity and tackling illicit drug trafficking; and
  • reiterating the Council’s request to the UN Secretary-General to engage with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP) with a view to undertaking a joint assessment of the requirements to support the rapid implementation of the ECOWAS-CPLP road map. 

In March the government of Guinea-Bissau and ECOWAS leaders endorsed the ECOWAS-CPLP road map for security sector reform.

The UN Department of Political Affairs and ECOWAS undertook an assessment from 11 to 16 April of requirements to support the rapid implementation of the ECOWAS-CPLP road map.

Human Rights Related Developments
On 11 May the Guinea-Bissau Ministry of Justice and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) published a report on efforts being made to strengthen the justice sector in the country. The main finding was the lack of capacity by the government to protect vulnerable groups and to make them aware of their human rights. The report recommended the reinforcement of the state presence (courts, police stations and justice officials) in outlying districts as well as the establishment of structures to protect women and children.

Key Issues
A key issue for the Council will be how to respond to the findings of the DPA/ECOWAS assessment mission and whether to adopt the mandate of the UN Integrated Peace-Building Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS) or supplement the mandate with new guidance.

Another key issue is better integrating the Council’s work with that of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) and the challenges for both bodies in finding the time, capacity and creative working methods to this end.

Another issue is the impact of emerging threats to national stability and regional peace and security posed by drug trafficking, as well as organised crime, which have become problematic in parts of West Africa. (Please see SCR’s Special Research Report, Emerging Security Threats in West Africa of May 2011.)

Underlying Problems
Perennially weak state institutions have greatly undermined governance in Guinea-Bissau and resulted in military insubordination to civilian leadership and intensified development gaps resulting in critical socioeconomic challenges. Illicit drug trafficking and cross-border organised crime now threaten effective peace consolidation in the country.

Options
Options for the Council include:

  • issuing a statement to signal its continued concern that the peace consolidation process must remain on track;
  • adopting a wait-and-see stance until the December UNIOGBIS mandate renewal and closely following developments on the ground;
  • deciding to revisit the regional implications of the emerging threats and scheduling a Council debate on this later in 2011; or
  • deciding to establish a Panel of Experts to assist the Council on emerging threats in West Africa and mandating the panel to report to the Council in good time before the scheduled debate.

Council Dynamics
Council members generally appear to welcome the initial progress being made regarding the situation in Guinea-Bissau, including the endorsement of the roadmap, but remain wary in light of the previous pattern of significant political and security setbacks.

The UK, US, France and Germany seem to prefer pushing for early concrete action by the government to address the challenges in the country, especially those relating to the rule of law and justice. Others, such as Brazil, Nigeria and South Africa, advocate a more cautious and sustained prompting of the government, arguing that practical constraints facing the national authorities have to be taken into consideration.

A common point of convergence for Council members is the need to convey the sense that they are closely monitoring developments on the ground, which might suggest that a Council statement based on the upcoming Secretary-General’s report will be possible.

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

UN Documents

Security Council Resolution

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

Presidential Statement

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

Letters

  • S/2008/208 (25 March 2008) was from the chair of the PBC to the president of the 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 Press Statement

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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