June 2012 Monthly Forecast

Posted 1 June 2012
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SECURITY COUNCIL AND WIDER UN STRUCTURE

Consultations with the AU Peace and Security Council

In June, Council members expect to hold the annual consultative meeting with the AU’s Peace and Security Council (PSC) at UN headquarters in New York. A communiqué is a likely outcome.

Key Recent Developments
Members of the two Councils have been meeting annually since 2007, alternating between their respective headquarters. The last consultative meeting was held in Addis Ababa on 21 May 2011. Whereas in previous years, process issues had largely dominated the meetings with relatively little time devoted to substance, the 2011 consultations were mostly focused on substantive issues, including Côte d’Ivoire, Libya, Somalia and Sudan. The communiqué adopted at the end of the meeting contained detailed sections on each of those situations. It also expressed the members’ interest in the upcoming reports from the Chairperson of the AU Commission and the UN Secretary-General on their respective strategic visions of the partnership between the two organisations.

During its presidency of the Council in January, South Africa organised an open debate on strengthening the relationship and used the publication of the two reports (both released just prior to the 12 January debate) to focus the debate. During the summit- level debate presided over by South African President Jacob Zuma, the Council adopted resolution 2033, reiterating the importance of establishing a more effective relationship between the Security Council and the AU PSC. The resolution called for elaboration of “further ways of strengthening relations between the two Councils, including through achieving more effective annual consultative meetings, the holding of timely consultations, and collaborative field missions of the two Councils”. It furthermore reflected the decision “to follow up on the Communiqués of the annual consultative meetings of the two Councils, including through its Ad-hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa.” This was the first resolution on the relationship since the adoption of resolution 1809 in April 2008, which addressed a broad range of issues, with a particular focus on UN support for AU peacekeeping.

Key Issues
The key situation-specific issues that are likely to be the focus of the June discussions include the Sudan-South Sudan developments, Somalia and the recent unconstitutional changes of government in Guinea-Bissau and Mali.

A key overarching issue for the Council is how best to use the comparative advantages of the two organisations in addressing the peace and security issues in Africa.

A related issue is whether the annual meetings, rather than being discreet events with last-minute preparations and little follow-up, can become part of a process leading up to greater effectiveness in the maintenance of peace and security on the African continent.

Options
An option for the Security Council could be to establish a timetable for the follow-up to, and implementation of, the understandings included in the communiqué, which is likely to be issued at the end of the meeting. This could be done through a press statement or a note from the President of the Council. 

A further option could be to set a date by which the Council wishes to receive and then discuss the analysis of lessons learned from practical cooperation between the AU and the UN, in particular with regard to the AU/UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), as requested in resolution 2033

Council and Wider Dynamics
The PSC is the only body with which members of the Security Council have had regular meetings. But this relationship has experienced its share of tensions and frustrations. The PSC has sometimes been disappointed that the Security Council has not been responsive when it has sought political support for preventive diplomacy and crisis management or when the Security Council has hesitated to provide the degree of practical and material support for peacekeeping that the PSC has requested.  Some Security Council members have been worried by the desire on the part of the AU side for the Security Council to defer to the position of regional organisations. Some members have also worried that regional groupings in certain situations have difficulty being impartial and may be part of the problem rather than the solution.  

During the 2011 meeting, sharp divisions emerged on the topic of Libya, with several of the PSC members being very critical of the approach taken by the Council in resolutions 1970 and 1973. The annual meetings have tended to be hastily prepared and have lacked a follow-up.  

During the period since the first meeting in 2007, the African members of the Security Council have had the lead on Africa-related thematic issues, including the annual consultative meetings.  

UN Documents

Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/2033 (12 January 2012) called for elaboration of “further ways of strengthening relations between the two Councils” and asked the Secretary-General in consultation with the AU to conduct a comprehensive analysis of lessons learned from practical cooperation between the UN and the AU.
  • S/RES/1809 (16 April 2008) encouraged increased engagement between the AU and the UN and welcomed the Secretary-General’s proposal to set up an AU-UN panel to consider the modalities of how to support AU peacekeeping operations established under a UN mandate.

Communiques from Previous Consultative Meetings

  • S/2011/350 (8 June 2011) was a letter from the Permanent Representative of South Africa with an annex containing the communiqué from the 21 May 2011 consultative meeting.
  • S/2010/392 (20 July 2010) was a letter from the Permanent Representatives of Gabon, Nigeria and Uganda with an annex containing the communiqué from the 9 July 2010 consultative meeting.
  • S/2009/303 (11 June 2009) was a report from the Security Council mission to Africa, with an annex containing the communiqué from the 16 May 2009 consultative meeting.
  • S/2008/263 (18 April 2008) was a letter from the Permanent Representative of South Africa with an annex containing the joint communiqué from the 17 April 2008 consultative meeting.
  • S/2007/421 (11 July 2007) was a report from the Security Council trip to Africa with an annex containing a joint communiqué from the first consultative meeting, held in Addis Ababa on 16 June 2007.  

Other

  • S/2012/20 (10 January 2012) was a letter from the Permanent Representative of South Africa containing the AU Chairperson’s report on the partnership between the AU and the UN on peace and security.
  • S/2011/805 (29 December 2011) was the report of the Secretary-General on UN-AU cooperation in peace and security.

 

Membership and the Rotating Chairmanship of the PSC 

  • Angola – April 2012
  • Cameroon – May 2012
  • Congo – June 2012
  • Côte d’Ivoire – July 2012
  • Djibouti – August 2012
  • Egypt – September 2012
  • Equatorial Guinea – October 2012
  • The Gambia – November 2012
  • Guinea – December 2012
  • Kenya – January 2013
  • Lesotho –  February 2013
  • Libya –  March 2013
  • Nigeria –  April 2013
  • Tanzania –  May 2013
  • Zimbabwe –  June 2013

Full forecast