June 2014 Monthly Forecast

Posted 30 May 2014
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ASIA

UNRCCA (Central Asia)

Expected Council Action

In June, Miroslav Jenča, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA), is expected to brief Council members in consultations. A press statement is likely.

Key Recent Developments

Jenča last briefed Council members on 21 January. In a press statement following the briefing, Council members welcomed UNRCCA’s initiatives to assist Central Asian countries in managing their trans-boundary water resources and encouraged their active participation in ongoing UNRCCA-facilitated discussions on a regional legal framework for trans-boundary water management (SC/11255). Council members also welcomed UNRCCA’s focus on cooperation in the areas of counter-terrorism and religious extremism and encouraged regional efforts to implement the UN global counter-terrorism strategy. In addition, they commended UNRCCA’s role in helping Central Asian states combat drug trafficking and in facilitating their engagement in the reconstruction and stabilisation of Afghanistan.

In the period since his briefing, Jenča has held a series of high-level bilateral meetings in the region. In February, he visited Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, and on 16 May, he met with several high-level Russian officials in Moscow.

With regard to the key issue of water management, UNRCCA and the World Bank organised a meeting in Vienna on 6-7 March that brought together the Central Asian states and the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea to discuss the management of trans-boundary water resources in the Aral Sea based on key principles of international law. 

In response to a recent increase in border tensions between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, a joint UNRCCA/UN Development Programme team visited the Batken-Isfara section of the border on 9-11 April. (An 11 January incident resulted in injuries to border guards on both sides.) The mission was described as part of UNRCCA’s broader preventive efforts and aimed at assessing the overall situation on the ground to produce recommendations regarding possible confidence-building measures to be discussed with the two governments.

Meanwhile, tensions erupted again on 7 May, when 25 people were reportedly injured in clashes in the border area. On 8 May, residents of Kok Tash in Kyrgyzstan held a demonstration to demand that the border between the two countries be demarcated as soon as possible. (The border has remained un-demarcated since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.)

On 6 May, on the margins of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty preparatory committee meeting in New York, China, France, Russia, the UK and the US signed the protocol to the Central Asian nuclear-weapon-free zone treaty. (The treaty entered into force on 21 March 2009.) The protocol commits the nuclear-weapon states not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against any of the five Central Asian states parties to the treaty (so-called negative security assurances). 

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 to 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 of environmental degradation.
Key Issues

A key issue for Council members is the general security situation in the region, including recent border tensions, potential water management disputes, drug trafficking, and the threat of terrorism. A related issue is the potential regional impact of the situation in Afghanistan.

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

Options

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

Council Dynamics

Council members remain generally supportive of the work of UNRCCA and believe it plays a useful role in preventive diplomacy and conflict prevention. They continue to welcome the semi-annual briefings as an opportunity to focus on the security 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
21 January 2014 SC/11255 was the latest statement on UNRCCA.
Security Council Letters
15 May 2007 S/2007/280 was from the Council president to the Secretary-General concerning the establishment of UNRCCA. 
7 May 2007 S/2007/279 was from the Secretary-General, announcing his intention to establish UNRCCA.