August 2014 Monthly Forecast

Posted 1 August 2014
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Guinea-Bissau

Expected Council Action

In August, the Council will hold consultations on Guinea-Bissau. Members will consider the 90-day report on the restoration of constitutional order in Guinea-Bissau. The new Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Guinea-Bissau Miguel Trovoada is expected to brief.

No outcome is expected.

Key Recent Developments

The presidential run-off election was held on 18 May between José Mário Vaz from the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) and Nuno Gomes Nabiam, an independent candidate, who had the support of the Party for Social Renewal (PRS) and the military. Voter turnout totaled 78.21 percent. The National Electoral Commission announced on 20 May that preliminary results showed that Vaz had won with 61.9 percent of the vote.

Vaz, a former mayor of Bissau and finance minister in the Carlos Gomes Júnior government that was ousted in the 12 April 2012 coup, appeared the day he was announced as the victor holding hands with General Antonio Indjai, who led the coup. Indjai said that the military would respect the outcome. Nabiam initially claimed fraud, but on 22 May, he conceded defeat.

On 17 June, the newly elected members of the National Assembly were sworn in. (In elections on 13 April, the PAIGC achieved a majority with 57 of the 102 seats. The PRS won 41 seats.) On 23 June, Vaz was sworn in as president and on 25 June appointed Domingos Simões Pereira of the PAIGC as prime minister. Simões Pereira was sworn in on 3 July while the 31 cabinet members were appointed by a presidential decree the following day.

The cabinet is made up of all political parties represented in the national assembly, namely 19 members of the PAIGC, six from the PRS, members of three smaller parties and three independents. Six members are holdovers from the transitional government established following the coup, including the minister of natural resources, who retained his position, and the new minister of foreign affairs, Mário Lopes da Rosa, who had been secretary of state for fisheries.

On 11 July, the government announced the temporary suspension of timber exports in order to prioritise cashew exports. The decision came amidst public anger over illegal logging and congestion at the port of Bissau as timber operators, fearing a ban, hurried to ship their wood. The government also announced payment of public servants’ salary arrears for two of four months owed by the transitional government, extension of the school year through August and plans to improve water and electricity utilities.

José Ramos-Horta concluded his tenure as Special Representative for Guinea-Bissau in late June, as expected. The Secretary-General appointed his successor, Miguel Trovoada, a former prime minister and president of São Tomé and Príncipe, on 16 July.

Meanwhile, Guinea-Bissau’s suspension from the AU ended on 17 June and it resumed its participation in the Community of Lusophone-Speaking Countries (CPLP), with Simoes Pereira attending its summit in Timor Leste on 23 July. During a summit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Accra on 9-10 July, leaders committed themselves to facilitating an international donor conference on Guinea-Bissau, creating an emergency fund for its humanitarian needs and to reviewing the mandate of the ECOWAS Mission in Guinea-Bissau (ECOMIB) by the end of 2014. The EU announced its resumption of full cooperation with Guinea-Bissau during a visit by Simões Pereira to Brussels from 14-16 July.

The Council was last briefed on Guinea-Bissau on 19 May by Ramos-Horta. Members issued a press statement welcoming the conclusion of the second-round elections and reiterated its call for the military to respect the results (SC/11402). On 29 May, the Council renewed the mandate of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS) for six months with resolution 2157, calling on the Secretariat to conduct a comprehensive review of the mission by the end of October to ensure that its mandate is aligned with the new government’s priorities.

On 21 July, the Secretary-General wrote the Council (S/2014/528) that it would be premature to complete and report on the review of UNIOGBIS’s mandate by 30 October since Guinea-Bissau’s new government required more time to identify its priorities for UN support. He asked that the Council grant a three month extension. In a 23 July letter in response (S/2014/529), the Council took note of the request, and called for a written update by 12 November 2014, in order to be able to consider it prior to the expiration of the mandate of UNIOGBIS.

Developments in the Peacebuilding Commission

The Guinea-Bissau configuration issued three press statements during the electoral process. A statement on 1 April expressed concern over incidents of violence and intimidation before the 13 April elections. Statements were also released prior to the 18 May presidential run-off and on 12 June after the two electoral rounds. Before the presidential run-off, Ramos-Horta briefed the configuration by video-teleconference (VTC) on 12 May, informing members about efforts by Prime Minister-elect Simões Pereira to assemble a national unity government. On 16 July, Simões Pereira addressed the country configuration via VTC from Brussels. He outlined emergency programmes to restore basic public services and stressed that the government was counting on international support and was committed to fighting corruption.

Key Issues

A key issue for the Council is how to support the resumption and the consolidation of constitutional order.

Being vigilant as to whether the military or other stakeholders are respecting the new government is a related issue.

Drug trafficking, illegal fishing and, more recently, illegal logging and deforestation have been ongoing issues of concern.

In the period before the upcoming renewal of UNIOGBIS in November, the Secretariat’s expected review of the mission will be an important issue. 

Options

The Council might:

  • receive the briefing and take no action; or
  • issue a press statement welcoming progress in Guinea-Bissau and new Special Representative Trovoada. 
Council and Wider Dynamics

During discussions on the renewal of UNIOGBIS’s mandate in May, all members supported extending the mission, although a division emerged over the time period of the renewal. The Secretary-General’s report recommended renewing the mission for one year and deploying an assessment mission in early 2015 to consider changes to the mission (S/2014/333). The US, however, strongly preferred a three-month renewal. During negotiations, in particular, with France advocating a longer extension in line with the Secretary-General’s recommendation, a compromise was reached to renew the mission for six months. Also at that time, language that had been inserted in the draft resolution calling for countries to assist Guinea-Bissau in combating illegal logging was dropped at the insistence of China and Russia; it was replaced by more general wording on “illegal exploitation of natural resources”.

CPLP states have called recently for ECOMIB to be transformed into a larger, UN-mandated African-led mission, noting the upcoming plans by ECOWAS to renew the mission’s mandate by the end of the year.

Nigeria (who provides most of the personnel to ECOMIB) is the penholder on Guinea-Bissau.

UN DOCUMENTS ON GUINEA-BISSAU

Security Council Resolution
29 May 2014 S/RES/2157 This resolution renewed UNIOGBIS for a further six months.
Security Council Press Statement
19 May 2014 SC/11402 This was a press statement welcoming the second round of presidential elections in Guinea-Bissau.
Secretary-General’s Reports
12 May 2014 S/2014/333 This was the semi-annual report on UNIOGBIS.
12 May 2014 S/2014/332 This was the Secretary-General’s report on the restoration of constitutional order.
Security Council Letters
21 July 2014 S/2014/528 This Secretary-General’s letter requested a three month extension to report on a comprehensive review of UNIOGBIS’s mandate.
23 July 2014 S/2014/529 This Council letter requested a written update from the Secretary-General on the comprehensive review of UNIOGBIS by 12 November 2014.