September 2011 Monthly Forecast

Posted 31 August 2011
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Preventive Diplomacy

Expected Council Action
A high-level meeting on preventive diplomacy with a briefing from the Secretary-General is expected in September. Lebanese President Michel Suleiman is expected to preside over the debate. It is likely to focus on the Secretary-General’s report on conflict prevention, requested in a July 2010 presidential statement. The report is expected by the third week of September. It will provide recommendations on how to optimise the use of preventive diplomacy tools within the UN system in co-operation with regional and subregional organisations and other actors. 

Lebanon is expected to circulate a draft concept paper in early September. A presidential statement is a possible outcome.  

Key Recent Developments
The last debate on conflict prevention, held on 16 July 2010 during Nigeria’s presidency, focused on “optimising the use of preventive diplomacy tools: prospects and challenges in Africa.”  A presidential statement was adopted following the debate acknowledging the importance of enhancing a culture of peaceful settlement of disputes and of a comprehensive strategy comprising operational and structural measures for prevention of armed conflict.

The Council meeting at the level of heads of state and government in September 2010 under the Turkish presidency, focused on the Council’s role in international peace and security. The presidential statement adopted at the meeting pledged to continue to adapt preventive diplomacy, peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding in response to changing circumstances, while emphasising that the relationship between them was not sequential. It also stressed the importance of addressing the root causes of conflict and strengthening strategic partnerships with regional and subregional organisations and other relevant players.

Since November 2010 the Council has been having regular “horizon scanning” briefings from the Department of Political Affairs. This idea was first introduced by the UK during the July 2010 debate on preventive diplomacy. These monthly briefings have provided an opportunity for Council members to be briefed by the Secretariat on emerging conflicts.

Key Issues
Among the issues for the Council to consider are:

  • What needs to be done to improve its preventive diplomacy tools? 
  • Is there enough political will to make decisions about issues not on the Council’s agenda? 
  • How can information quality and flow be improved between the Secretariat and the Security Council and between the UN and regional and subregional organisations?
  • Could the UN be doing more to support regional actors to play a role in preventive diplomacy?

UN Documents

Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1653 (27 January 2006) addressed conflict prevention and resolution in the Great Lakes region.
  • S/RES/1625 (14 September 2005) was a declaration on the effectiveness of the Security Council’s role in conflict prevention.

Presidential Statement

  • S/PRST/2010/14 (16 July 2010) was on preventive diplomacy and conflict prevention, which requested the Secretary-General to submit within 12 months a report making recommendations on how best to utilise the preventive diplomacy tools within the UN system and in co-operation with other actors.

Secretary-General’s Reports

  • S/2009/189 (8 April 2009) was on enhancing mediation and its support activities.
  • S/2008/18 (14 January 2008) was on the implementation of Security Council resolution 1625 (2005) on conflict prevention, particularly in Africa. 

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