UNRCCA (Central Asia)
Expected Council Action
In July, Council members are expecting a briefing by the special representative of the Secretary-General for Central Asia and head of UNRCCA, Miroslav Jenča. This will be the sixth briefing since the establishment of UNRCCA in December 2007 and will provide Council members with an update on the Centre’s activities in the past six months. No Council decision is expected.
Key Recent Developments
Jenča last briefed the Council on the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA) on 13 January, with a focus on the events unfolding at that time in Krygyzstan. The Council issued a press statement following the briefing, expressing appreciation for the efforts of the Centre as a mechanism for preventive diplomacy, “including with regard to the situation in Kyrgyzstan, the implementation of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and solutions to water and energy management through regional cooperation.” The Council encouraged further cooperation and coordination between the governments of the region, the regional centre and relevant regional organisations.
On 3 May the Kyrgyzstan Inquiry Commission (KIC) published its report investigating the circumstances surrounding the ethnic violence that broke out in June 2010 in southern Kyrgyzstan. The report describes how 470 people were killed, 1,900 people were injured, more than 400,000 were displaced and an unknown number of women suffered sexual violence. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on 4 May welcomed the report and urged the government of Kyrgyzstan to act quickly on the report’s recommendations that it carry out further investigations and prosecutions.
Jenča visited Kyrgyzstan in mid-April with Pierre Morel, the EU Special Representative for Central Asia, and Herbert Salber,Special Representative of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe Office for Kyrgyzstan. In a 14 April statement in Bishkek, the envoys praised the citizens of Kyrgyzstan who “have brought to life a new constitution based on the principles of parliamentary democracy,” which were “strengthened through the successful 2010 parliamentary elections.” They also emphasised that the tragic events of June 2010 must be addressed through continued dialogue, tolerance and reconciliation, and they expressed their expectation that the recommendations of the KIC will contribute to this process.
On 31 May, UNRCCA held the third annual meeting of deputy foreign ministers of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. They discussed enhancing regional cooperation and facilitating interaction between UNRCCA and Central Asian states to consolidate joint efforts to eliminate threats to stability and development in the region.
On 5-6 May, Jenča visited China, where he met with Foreign Minister Chen Guo Pin to discuss current trends in Central Asia. Their talks covered efforts to combat terrorism, extremism and drug trafficking, finding solutions to problems of resource management and environmental degradation and the role of Central Asian states in response to the situation in Afghanistan.
Background on UNRCCA
UNRCCA was inaugurated on 10 December 2007 as a special political mission by the Department of Political Affairs with the aim of assisting the countries of the region in building their conflict-prevention capacities. The Centre’s programme of action for the period January 2009 to December 2011 identifies three priority areas:
- cross-border threats from illicit activities (terrorism, organised crime and drug trafficking);
- environmental degradation and management of common resources such as water and energy; and
- implications for the region in relation to the situation in Afghanistan.
Another issue is the general security situation in the region, including threats posed by ethnic conflict, resource management concerns, terrorism and instability in neighbouring Afghanistan.
Another option, following recent practice, is for Council members to issue a press statement following the briefing reaffirming support for UNRCCA’s activities in the region.
Council members seem to find the semi-annual briefings to be a useful tool for facilitating discussion on the situation in Central Asia as a whole and welcome the work of UNRCCA, particularly in light of the Council’s thematic work on preventive diplomacy and conflict prevention.