July 2011 Monthly Forecast

Posted 30 June 2011
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South Sudan

Expected Council Action
The Council is expected to finalise and adopt the mandate of a new mission for South Sudan ahead of its independence on 9 July. The mandate of the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) expires on 9 July.

The foreign minister of Germany is scheduled to preside over a high-level debate on Sudan on 13 July to mark the occasion of South Sudan’s independence. It is expected that the Council will use the occasion to adopt a resolution recommending that the Republic of South Sudan be admitted as a member of the UN and issue a separate presidential statement on the independence of South Sudan.

Key Recent Developments
On 20 June the government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) signed an agreement on temporary arrangements for the administration and security of the Abyei area. The agreement provides for the withdrawal of military forces—both Khartoum’s Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and Southern Sudan’s Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA)—immediately following the deployment of an Interim Security Force for Abyei (ISFA) composed of a brigade of Ethiopian troops. The agreement also indicates that an Abyei police service shall be established to deal with particular issues related to nomadic migration. The agreement also established the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee (AJOC), which is to be composed of four members, with each party nominating two representatives.

On 27 June the Security Council adopted resolution 1990 authorising for six months a mission called the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) that shall comprise a maximum of 4,200 military personnel, 50 police and appropriate civilian support with the following mandate:

  • monitor and verify the redeployment of armed groups from Abyei Area, as defined by the Permanent Court of Arbitration;
  • participate in relevant Abyei Area bodies as stipulated in the agreement;
  • assist in de-mining;
  • facilitate humanitarian access;
  • strengthen the capacity of the Abyei Police Service; and
  • provide security for oil infrastructure;

and, under Chapter VII:

  • protect UNISFA and UN personnel, facilities, installations and equipment;
  • ensure security and freedom of movement of UN personnel, humanitarian workers and military observers;
  • protect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence;
  • protect the Abyei Area from incursions by unauthorised elements; and
  • ensure security in the Abyei Area.

The resolution also requests the Secretary-General to ensure that effective human rights monitoring is carried out in Abyei and report to the Council in 30 days and every 60 days thereafter.

On 20 June the Security Council received a briefing on the Abyei agreement from the head of the AU High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), Thabo Mbeki, and the head of UNMIS, Haile Menkerios. Their briefing also covered progress on negotiations between the parties on other post-referendum issues (such as wealth-sharing and border arrangements) and the humanitarian situation in Southern Kordofan. 

Menkerios provided further detail on post-UNMIS planning, including preparations for a new mission in South Sudan. Menkerios said that the AUHIP was continuing discussions with the parties on the possibility of UN assistance for border- monitoring, noting that this possibility had yet to be either accepted or rejected. The AUHIP had suggested that any border-monitoring function be a UN mission integrated with the leadership of the mission in Abyei. Menkerios said that there would also be a need, post-UNMIS, for the UN to assist the AUHIP at the political level, noting it had been proposed that the Secretary-General appoint a special envoy to provide his good offices in support of the AUHIP. It may be that Menkerios himself would be appointed if this position was created.

Mbeki informed the Council that talks between the parties on the security and political situation in Southern Kordofan would start in Addis Ababa on 21 June. 

Fighting in Southern Kordofan has entered its fourth week.   The UN estimates fighting has displaced more than 70,000 people.

On 22 June the head of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Valerie Amos, said that the treatment of civilians, including reported human rights abuses and targeting of people along ethnic lines in Southern Kordofan, was reprehensible. Amos called for an end to movement restrictions to allow aid agencies to have free access to the civilian population. Amos also expressed concern that the inability of farmers in the Nuba Mountains to sow crops would cause food shortages.

The UN strongly condemned the detention and abuse by SAF of four UNMIS peacekeepers on patrol in Kadugli on 17 June. It is understood that they were detained and subjected to a mock firing squad. On 23 June, six UNMIS national staff were arrested as they were preparing to relocate from Southern Kordofan to Southern Sudan. UNMIS protested the clear violations of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA).

On 8 June authorities in Southern Sudan provided an update on their planned disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) programme. The programme focuses on vulnerable groups, such as former combatants and women associated with armed groups. The second phase, starting after independence, will focus on downsizing the SPLA. On 21 June, the UN regional coordinator for Southern Sudan, David Gressly, called for South Sudan to halve the SPLA as the country would be better off with a smaller, better trained army. Gressly noted that the disparate armed groups that the SPLA had absorbed since signing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) could continue to cause insecurity. The UN says more than 1,500 people have been killed in Southern Sudan this year due to former SPLA fighters turning on the army.

Human Rights-Related Developments
On 22 June the deputy UN high commissioner for human rights, Kyung-wha Kang, visited Juba as part of an eight-day visit to Sudan. Kang said that following independence South Sudan should ratify all key global treaties upholding human rights and ensure that its citizens are able to enjoy basic freedoms. Kang said that national laws must be in harmony with these international standards.

Key Issues
A key issue will be defining the mandate for a new mission in South Sudan while significant uncertainty continues over the relationship between the north and South Sudan. The uncertainty over the force posture of the SPLA, due to threats from the north, may be an issue for the Council in reaching decisions on the mandate, leadership structure and force strength of a new mission in South Sudan and the UN’s role in DDR and security sector reform.

A further issue is the complication of a possible separate border focused mission or possible separate presence in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states. A related issue is the likelihood that the Council might need to react quickly to agreements reached by the parties on these arrangements.

Another issue is the role the new mission in South Sudan could play in terms of quick impact work in South Sudan to address the links between security and development as identified by the Council in February 2011 in S/PRST/2011/4.

A further issue is ensuring there are sufficient opportunities for all Council members to participate in consultations with the UN Secretariat on the mandate for a new mission in South Sudan, including with the newly appointed special representative of the Secretary-General in South Sudan, Hilde Johnson.

Underlying Issues
The ongoing blockade of trade routes from the north into South Sudan—and the resulting soaring food and fuel prices— highlights the vulnerability of the new state.

There is a widespread proliferation of small arms in Southern Sudan, which raises the stakes of inter-tribal conflict and criminal activity.

For the follow-on to UNMIS in South Sudan, the Council could:

  • decide to re-hat the UNMIS presence in South Sudan to a new mission without a change in mandate for a short period while negotiations continue on a new mandate; or
  • decide that a new mission should be mandated by 9 July and negotiate and adopt the mandate by 9 July.

With regard to the mandate of the new mission, the Council could:

  • closely follow the Secretary-General’s recommendation on the mandate of the new mission and the force levels for the military and police elements (7,000 and 900 respectively);
  • add a border-monitoring role entirely based in South Sudan;
  • adjust the recommended force level; or
  • ensure the mandate addresses issues of UN integration and “delivering as one” as well as beginning the process of adapting mission structures and tasks to the security/development nexus.

Procedural Option: Admission of South Sudan as a New Member of the UN
After declaring independence, the new government of South Sudan is expected to present a letter to the Secretary-General on 9 July applying for membership of the UN. The Secretary-General will convey the application to the president of the Council, who will establish an ad-hoc committee on admission of new members, composed of all Council members. The ad-hoc committee is expected to quickly reach consensus on a short resolution recommending to the General Assembly that South Sudan be admitted to membership in the UN (S/RES/1691 on Montenegro’s admission in 2006 is the most recent example). The Council is expected to adopt this resolution at the high-level meeting on 13 July. The General Assembly is expected to take up the recommendation quickly. Admission requires the support of two-thirds of the UN membership.

Council Dynamics
Recent negotiations on several Council decisions on Sudan continue to highlight the significant differences that remain between Council members.

Many Council members seem concerned that the current issues, while already highly complex, will become much more serious following South Sudan’s independence. While some Council members tend to characterise the current violence as “internal”, after 9 July provocations between north and south will definitely be seen as a threat to international peace and security.

The Council seemed to be somewhat in agreement with the initial recommendations of the Secretary-General on the role of the new mission in South Sudan. But the pace of events, particularly in Abyei, and increasing tensions between the north and south are causing some members to question the ability of a new mission in South Sudan to be entirely quarantined from the realities of events unfolding in Abyei, Southern Kordofan and possibly Blue Nile. For example, some have questioned whether a DDR mandate would even be possible, given the force posture of the SPLA in response to insecurity along the border.

The force level recommended by the Secretariat is of concern to a number of Council members, but for differing reasons. Some feel that the number is too low, particularly if a new mission is going to fulfil a Chapter VII protection of civilians mandate effectively. Others feel that the number is too high, given that UNMIS had a force level of 10,000 and a much wider area of operation. There seems to be a suspicion that budgetary considerations are guiding the decision-making of some member states, based on a rumour that the Secretariat was being lobbied to recommend a mission in South Sudan that was “cheaper than UNMIS.”

At the other end of the spectrum, however, a number of members that are not large donors to the peacekeeping budget also seem to want the size of the new mission to be limited so as to ensure that the UN does not take on functions that the newly sovereign state should be responsible for. These members appear to want South Sudan to face up to the responsibility that comes with being an independent state and not become overly reliant on international assistance.

The US continues to be the lead country on South Sudan in the Council.

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UN Documents

Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1990 (27 June 2011) established the UNISFA.
  • S/RES/1978 (27 April 2011) extended the mandate of UNMIS until 9 July 2011.
  • S/RES/1590 (24 March 2005) established UNMIS.

Presidential Statements

Latest Secretary-General’s Report

  • S/2011/314 (17 May 2011) was a special report with recommendations on a new UN mission in South Sudan.


  • S/2011/384 (23 June 2011) was a letter from the Secretary-General conveying the Abyei agreement.
  • S/PV.6559 (20 June 2011) was a briefing from Mbeki and Menkerios on the situation in Abyei.

Other Relevant Facts

Special Representative of the Secretary-General in South Sudan

Hilde Frafjord Johnson (Norway)

UNMIS: Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of Mission

Haile Menkerios (South Africa)

UNMIS: Force Commander

Maj. Gen. Moses Bisong Obi (Nigeria)

UNMIS: Size, Composition, Cost and Duration

  • Maximum authorised strength: up to 10,000 military, including 750 military observers and 715 police personnel
  • Main troop contributors: India, Bangladesh, Egypt, Pakistan and Kenya
  • Military strength as of 31 May 2011:  9,264 troops and 457 military observers
  • Police Strength as of 31 May 2011:  697 police personnel
  • Annual Budget: $1 billion
  • Duration: 24 March 2005 to present; mandate expires 9 July 2011 

Full forecast

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