Expected Council Action
In November, the Council is expected to extend the mandate of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS), which expires on 30 November.
Prior to the mandate renewal, Special Representative Miguel Trovoada, will brief the Council along with the chair of the Peacebuilding Commission’s Guinea-Bissau country configuration, Ambassador Antonio de Aguiar Patriota (Brazil). The Council will consider a written update from the Secretary-General on his comprehensive review of UNIOGBIS.
Key Recent Developments
Guinea-Bissau’s recently elected president, José Mário Vaz, issued a decree on 15 September dismissing the chief of general staff of the armed forces, General Antonio Indjai, who led the 12 April 2012 coup. On 17 September, Vaz appointed Biahay Na N’tan as his replacement. Like Indjai, he comes from the country’s Balanta ethnic group.
The new Prime Minister, Domingos Simões Pereira, addressed the General Assembly on 29 September, outlining a three-phased set of reforms. An urgent programme to meet people’s immediate needs in education and power and water supplies; ensure food security; pay civil servants’ overdue salaries; and provide basic health care, including contingency planning to handle possible Ebola cases. Reforms in natural resource management are intended to ensure transparency and accountability in the sector. He also noted a medium-term development programme, for which the government will seek funding at a planned donors’ conference in early 2015.
On the margins of the General Assembly, Guinea-Bissau’s international partners met on 26 September to discuss the report of the AU-led assessment mission conducted from 15 to 18 September. In a communiqué, they took note of the recommendation to extend the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Security Mission in Guinea-Bissau (ECOMIB) beyond its 31 December mandate, urging partners to provide ECOMIB necessary support. Among other points, they agreed to mobilise support for the donors’ roundtable and to revitalise the International Contact Group on Guinea-Bissau, which had stopped meeting in June 2012 shortly after the coup due to disagreements between ECOWAS and Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP). The contact group, co-chaired by ECOWAS and the CPLP, will coordinate international efforts.
Regarding the Ebola epidemic in neighbouring Guinea and nearby Sierra Leone and Liberia, the government closed its borders with Guinea on 19 August. In 14 October consultations following the Council’s meeting on the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Tayé-Brook Zerihoun described preparations taken by UNIOGBIS in case the disease appears in the country.
Council members last met on Guinea-Bissau on 26 August, when Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman briefed on the Secretary-General’s final report pursuant to resolution 2048 on the restoration of constitutional order. During consultations, Feltman said that civil-military relations appeared to be moving in the right direction and that it was a positive sign that the international community was reengaging with Guinea-Bissau.
Trovoada arrived in the country on 21 August to take up his office as Special Representative. Two new deputy special representatives to UNIOGBIS were also recently appointed: Maria do Valle Ribeiro of Ireland on 13 August and Marco Carmignani of Brazil on 8 May.
At press time, the UN was set to conduct a strategic review of UNIOGBIS from 3 November to 14 November. This is the comprehensive review of the mission that the Council called for in resolution 2157 to ensure that UNIOGBIS’s mandate is aligned with the newly elected government’s priorities.
Developments in the PBC
Patriota travelled to Guinea-Bissau from 28 to 31 October. He attended a meeting of CPLP ministers in the country and met with several officials of the new government. It was Patriota’s first trip to the country since the elections.
Renewing the mandate of UNIOGBIS while ensuring it is aligned with the priorities of the government will be the key issue.
Another key issue is how the Council can best support the resumption and consolidation of constitutional order. Related to this is an update on civil-military relations, progress in security sector reform and the work of ECOMIB.
Guinea-Bissau’s preparations and capacity to deal with Ebola will likely be an important issue since an outbreak in the country could severely undermine recent positive developments.
Combating drug trafficking and the illegal exploitation of natural resources, along with addressing accountability for past political violence, are ongoing issues of concern.
The Council could:
- authorise a technical rollover of the mission for three or four months in order to consider the Secretary-General’s report that is due by 30 January with recommendations based on the UN’s comprehensive review of UNIOGBIS and the government’s priorities for UN support; or
- renew the mandate of UNIOGBIS for 12 months to continue its focus on supporting inclusive political dialogue, security sector reform, justice and public administration reforms and efforts to combat drug trafficking and other illicit activities, as well as protecting human rights and fighting impunity.
Council and Wider Dynamics
Council members tend to be united in their approach to Guinea-Bissau, following the lead of ECOWAS. However, for the renewal of UNIOGBIS’s mandate last May, divisions emerged among members over the time period for extending the mission. France, in particular, preferred a longer extension in line with the Secretary-General’s recommendation of a one-year renewal, which the UN had recommended in order to provide time to conduct the strategic review. The US, though, wanted a three-month renewal. The compromise was a six-month extension until 30 November. However, recommendations from the UN’s strategic review are not expected until January following the Council’s granting of a three-month extension for the Secretary-General’s report. Thus another short-term extension of the mission’s mandate may be necessary, which some members may not easily accept, anticipating a year-long renewal of UNIOGBIS this time.
CPLP states have proposed in recent months that ECOMIB be transformed into a larger, UN-mandated African-led mission.
Nigeria, the major contributor to ECOMIB, is the penholder on Guinea-Bissau.
|Security Council Resolution|
|29 May 2014 S/RES/2157||This resolution renewed UNIOGBIS for a further six months.|
|18 August 2014 S/2014/603||This was the final Secretary-General’s report on the restoration of constitutional order in Guinea-Bissau.|
|Security Council Letters|
|15 August 2014 S/2014/601||This was a letter from the Council to the Secretary-General agreeing to the proposal of the final report pursuant to resolution 2048 on Guinea-Bissau.|
|13 August 2014 S/2014/600||This was a letter from the Secretary-General proposing the final quarterly report pursuant to resolution 2048 in light of the successful electoral process and installation of the new government in Guinea-Bissau.|
|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.|
|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.|