Visiting Mission to Europe and Africa
Expected Council Action
In August, the Council expects to travel to Belgium, the Netherlands, South Sudan, Somalia and Kenya. A briefing on this visiting mission is expected later in the month.
Council visiting missions have historically served a number of purposes, including preventive diplomacy, information gathering and support for mediation and peace processes. They have been a tool that the Council has used with greater frequency since the end of the Cold War: while there were fewer than a dozen such missions during the Cold War, the August mission will be the Council’s 48th visiting mission since 1992 and its second in 2014. (For more background on Council visiting missions, please see our 25 March 2014 Special Research Report, Security Council Working Methods: A Tale of Two Councils?, pp. 40-50.)
The visiting mission will likely consist of stops in Europe (Belgium and the Netherlands) and Africa (South Sudan, Somalia and Kenya). While the UK has taken the lead in organising the trip, there will be co-leaders for each of the different segments of the mission. At press time, it appeared that the visiting mission might emphasise the role of women in conflict prevention, conflict resolution and peacebuilding, as well as the harmful impact of sexual violence in conflict. This focus would be in keeping with resolution 2122 of October 2013, in which the Council “expresses its intention to make the implementation of the Council’s women, peace and security mandate a focus on one of its periodic field visits in advance of the 2015 High-Level Review” of the implementation of resolution 1325, the Council’s first thematic resolution on women, peace and security.
The mission’s first leg, co-led by Australia and the UK, will be in Belgium, where the Council is expected to visit World War I battlefields. The purpose of this part of the mission is to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I and pay tribute to those who lost their lives in the conflict.
The next part of the mission, a trip to The Hague, will be co-led by Chile and Luxembourg. In The Hague, Council members will engage with officials from international courts and tribunals there, possibly including the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice. The purpose of these interactions will be to discuss lessons learned with respect to efforts to combat impunity. In addition, there will probably be a meeting with officials from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), during which Council members will discuss with the OPCW its work in Syria.
Rwanda and the US are co-leaders of the South Sudan part of the mission, where Council members are expected to engage with the government, humanitarian actors, the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and civil society, including women’s groups. They will likely express concern about the security, political and humanitarian situation in the country and reiterate the need for all parties to the conflict to cease hostilities. Council members may also express to the parties their concerns about restrictions of movement on UNMISS, while condemning attacks on UNMISS personnel. They are also expected to visit one of the UN facilities providing protection for internally displaced persons.
Somalia and Kenya
The Somalia-Kenya leg of the trip will be co-led by Nigeria and the UK. In Somalia, Council members are expected to meet with the government, the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and civil society (also including women’s groups). They expect to receive an update on how UNSOM and AMISOM are fulfilling their respective mandates. There will likely be interest among Council members in learning about the military campaign against Al-Shabaab. When interacting with the government, Council members may be interested in receiving an update on the implementation of the arms embargo. Concerns will also probably be expressed by Council members about the humanitarian situation in the country.
In Nairobi, it appears that the Council will meet with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, which is mediating the South Sudan peace talks in Addis Ababa. Other meetings in Nairobi are possible, though not confirmed, including with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition, which has been engaged in a civil war with the government of South Sudan since 15 December 2013.
UN Documents on Visiting Mission to Europe and Africa
|Security Council Resolutions|
|29 May 2014 S/RES/2158||This was a resolution renewing the mandate of UNSOM for one year.|
|27 May 2014 S/RES/2155||This resolution revised the mandate of UNMISS to focus on protection of civilians, facilitation of humanitarian access and human rights verification and monitoring.|
|5 March 2014 S/RES/2142||This resolution extended the partial lifting of the arms embargo on Somalia until 25 October 2014.|
|31 October 2000 S/RES/1325||This was the resolution on women, peace and security, in particular expressing the Council’s willingness to incorporate a gender perspective into peacekeeping missions, calling on all parties to protect women and girls from gender-based violence and to put an end to impunity for such crimes.|
|25 July 2014 S/2014/537||This was Secretary-General’s report on South Sudan.|
|12 May 2014 S/2014/330||This was a report from the Secretary-General on UNSOM.|
|Security Council Meeting Records|
|22 May 2014 S/PV.7181||This was a briefing on Somalia by Nicholas Kay, the Special Representative and head of UNSOM.|
|12 May 2014 S/PV.7172||This was the briefing by Ban on his trip to South Sudan.|