July 2011 Monthly Forecast

Posted 30 June 2011
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West Africa (UNOWA)

 Expected Council Action
In July the Council is expected to consider a report of the Secretary-General on UNOWA. It is also expecting a briefing by Special Representative Said Djinnit.

UNOWA’s mandate expires on 31 December 2013.

Key Recent Developments
On 17 December 2010, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Office in West Africa Said Djinnit briefed the Council on developments affecting peace and security in the West African subregion. In his briefing, Djinnit stressed that the international community must apply innovative thinking to reduce election-related tensions in West Africa. Djinnit outlined UNOWA’s priorities, which include:

  • security sector reform;
  • preventing and combating drug trafficking and organised crime, in collaboration with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime;
  • supporting the work of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS); and
  • promoting respect for human rights and mainstreaming of a gender perspective in conflict prevention and management initiatives in the subregion.

Djinnit also stressed that UNOWA intends to continue to enhance regional cooperation, promote social and economic development and address common security threats, including terrorism, and that UNOWA will continue to work alongside ECOWAS, the AU and other regional stakeholders.

To these ends, UNOWA has recently engaged regional actors on issues of common concern in the region. On 18 to 20 May, UNOWA organised a conference on elections and stability in West Africa in Praia, Cape Verde, in collaboration with the host country and the UN Development Programme and with support from the UN Department of Political Affairs, ECOWAS, the AU, Organisation international de la Francophonie and the EU. The conference reviewed recent elections in the subregion in order to identify best practices and propose practical solutions to support states, particularly those with upcoming elections scheduled between 2011 and 2013.

On 28 February, Djinnit chaired the 20th high-level consultation in Dakar in order to coordinate the action of the UN in promoting peace and stability in West Africa. The consultations were attended by the heads of the various UN missions in the subregion, including the UN Mission in Liberia, the UN Operation in Cote d’Ivoire and the Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau.

On 20 December the Council extended the mandate of UNOWA for three years.

Key Issues
The key issue for Council members is assessing whether and how UNOWA’s regional approach to trends in, and challenges to, peace and security in the West Africa is adding value to peace consolidation in the subregion.

For an in-depth look at emerging threats to peace and security in West Africa, including drug trafficking and organised crime, terrorism, challenges to democratic governance and piracy, see Security Council Report’s May Research Report, Emerging Security Threats in West Africa.

Options for the Council include:

  • simply receiving the briefing and considering the Secretary-General’s report;
  • adopting a statement highlighting key issues raised in the Secretary-General’s upcoming report and reiterating the Council’s support for the work of UNOWA; and
  • discussing, in an interactive dialogue involving the countries from the subregion and the chairs of the relevant PBC Country-Specific Configurations, the key underlying issues, along with relevant thematic issues such as drug trafficking.

Council Dynamics
Council members are generally supportive and feel that the UNOWA 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. Council members seem to have confidence in the work being done by Djinnit. 

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

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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/2010/661 (20 December 2010) extended the mandate of UNOWA for a further three years, from 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2013.
  • S/2010/660 (14 December 2010) contained the Secretary-General’s report on 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.


  • S/PV.6455 (17 December 2010) was the latest briefing on UNOWA to the Council.
  • S/2010/693 (10 December 2010) was the letter transmitting the independent study on UNOWA conducted by the Center on International Cooperation.

Other Relevant Facts

Special Representative of the Secretary-General

Said Djinnit (Algeria)

Size and Composition

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


29 November 2001 to present; mandate expires on 31 December 2013.

Useful Additional Source
Emerging Security Threats in West Africa, Security Council Report, Research Report No. 1, May 2011

Full forecast

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