July 2013 Monthly Forecast

Posted 28 June 2013
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ASIA

UNRCCA (Central Asia)

Expected Council Action

In July, Miroslav Jenča, the Special Representative and head of the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA), is expected to brief Council members in consultations. As has been established practice since these semi-annual briefings began in 2008, a press statement welcoming UNRCCA’s role as a preventive-diplomacy tool is expected.

Key Recent Developments

Jenča last briefed Council members on 29 January. In a press statement following the briefing (SC/10903), Council members stressed the need for further coordination and cooperation between UNRCCA, the governments of the region and regional organisations. They also expressed their appreciation for the centre’s role in preventive diplomacy, in particular with regard to trans-boundary threats, regional stability, management of water and energy resources and environmental degradation. Furthermore, they noted the centre’s success in helping implement the UN’s global counter-terrorism strategy and its role in facilitating Central Asian states’ engagement with regard to Afghanistan.

In the period since the January briefing, Jenča travelled first to Kazakhstan from 14-15 February and then to Germany from 20-21 February for high-level bilateral talks. The meeting with Kazakh officials focused on water and energy issues, terrorism and extremism and the impact of developments in Afghanistan. In Germany, discussions focused primarily on developments and potential trends in the region, taking into account the planned withdrawal of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan (ISAF). Other, more general issues, such as water and energy resource management and terrorism were also addressed.

On 22-24 April, UNRCCA organised an international seminar in Tajikistan in cooperation with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime entitled “Challenges in addressing the illicit drugs problem in Central Asia in the context of the withdrawal of international forces from Afghanistan in 2014”.

On 26 April, Jenča attended a “Heart of Asia” ministerial conference in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The conference was part of the Istanbul process on Afghanistan launched in November 2011 to promote coordination between Afghanistan and neighbouring countries in dealing with common threats, such as terrorism, drug trafficking, poverty and extremism.

On 5 June, also in Almaty, Jenča participated in a ministerial conference on protection of refugees and international migration organised by the government of Kazakhstan, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Organisation for Migration.

On 13-14 June, Jenča travelled to Beijing for high-level talks focusing on political and security dynamics in Central Asia and prospects for increased regional cooperation.

Background on UNRCCA

Based in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, 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 (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) in building conflict-prevention capacities. UNRCCA’s latest programme of action for 2012-2014 focuses on three areas:

  • impact of trans-boundary threats facing the region (terrorism, organised crime and drug trafficking);
  • implications of national developments on regional stability; and
  • management of common natural resources and environmental degradation.

UNRCCA’s mandate includes working with the governments of the region and other parties on issues relevant to preventive diplomacy; monitoring the situation on the ground; maintaining relationships with regional organisations and encouraging their peace-making efforts; providing a political framework for the preventive activities of the UN country teams and resident coordinators across the region; and maintaining close contact with the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.

Key Issues

A key issue for Council members is the general security situation in the region, including underlying risks of ethnic conflicts, terrorism and resource-management concerns.

Another issue is the potential impact on the region of the expected withdrawal of international troops from Afghanistan and UNRCCA’s role in this context.

A further issue is whether there may be opportunities to further enhance UNRCCA’s role as a preventive-diplomacy tool. 

Options

The most likely option for Council members is to issue a press statement, as it has done in the past, reaffirming its support for UNRCCA’s activities in the region.

Council Dynamics

Council members are generally supportive of the work of UNRCCA and believe it plays a useful role in preventive diplomacy and conflict prevention. They seem to welcome the semi-annual briefings as an opportunity to focus on the situation in Central Asia as a whole, including the impact of developments in Afghanistan.

Russia is the penholder on UNRCCA press statements.

UN Documents on UNRCCA

Security Council Press Statement
29 January 2013 SC/10903 was the latest statement on UNRCCA. 
Security Council Letters
15 May 2007 S/2007/280 was from the Council president to the Secretary-General on the establishment of UNRCCA.
7 May 2007 S/2007/279 was from the Secretary-General announcing his intention to establish UNRCCA.