January 2015 Monthly Forecast

Posted 23 December 2014
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Expected Council Action

In January 2015, Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson is expected to brief the Council on post-conflict peacebuilding. Also likely to brief is Antonio de Aguiar Patriota (Brazil), chair of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC). Council members will be considering the Secretary-General’s 23 September 2014 report on peacebuilding in the aftermath of conflict.

The Council may adopt a presidential statement.

Key Recent Developments

On 3 November 2014, Patriota sent letters to the Council and General Assembly presidents regarding the terms of reference for the 2015 review of peacebuilding. Following the first five-year review of the UN’s peacebuilding architecture, which concluded that the PBC had yet to reach its full potential, Security Council resolution 1947 of 29 October 2010 and General Assembly resolution 65/7 of 23 November 2010 called for a further comprehensive review in 2015.

According to the terms of reference, the 2015 review will include case studies and will be conducted by an advisory expert group of seven individuals appointed by the Secretary-General. The countries selected for the case studies will represent both PBC-agenda countries and non-agenda countries and will reflect examples of progress in peace consolidation as well as conflict relapse. The expert group’s report and recommendations will be submitted to the General Assembly and Security Council. Next, an intergovernmental process, co-facilitated by two permanent representatives appointed by the Security Council and General Assembly, will review the report’s findings and submit an outcome product for the Security Council’s and General Assembly’s consideration and action. Patriota confirmed to the Council in a letter on 25 November 2014 the five countries selected as case studies: Burundi, Central African Republic (CAR), Sierra Leone, South Sudan and Timor-Leste.

Council members agreed on the terms of reference on 11 December. At press time, a joint letter from the General Assembly and the Security Council was expected to be sent to the Secretary-General.  The letter would outline the process and formally begin the review.

Feeding into this preparatory work, the Secretary-General provided initial inputs for the review in a 24 October 2014 letter. The Secretary-General stressed the important political role of the PBC in facilitating peacebuilding efforts in post-conflict countries. The letter additionally suggested that the PBC adopt more flexible and lighter forms of engagement to address a broader assortment of post-conflict situations—picking up one of the recommendations of the 2010 review that has yet to be fully realized. Related to this, the Secretary-General noted that he could be more proactive in referring situations to the PBC, which he has never done. Emphasis was also placed on the PBC increasing its engagement with regional organisations and the importance of addressing regional dimensions in peacebuilding. The Secretary-General’s latest report on peacebuilding further noted the opportunity presented by the review, highlighting that the relapses of South Sudan and CAR into conflict reflect that there are still shortcomings in the international community’s peacebuilding efforts.

Effective 1 November 2014, the Secretary-General appointed Assistant Secretary-General Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, formerly of the Department of Political Affairs, as head of the UN Peacebuilding Support Office.

Recent Developments in the PBC Country-Specific Configurations

On 6 August 2014, the chairs of the Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone configurations—Ambassadors Sylvie Lucas (Luxembourg), Marten Grunditz (Sweden) and Guillermo Rishchynski (Canada), respectively—issued a joint letter highlighting the need for international support to respond to the Ebola epidemic. An informal joint meeting of the three configurations on the epidemic was held on 18 August. On 8 September, David Nabarro, then senior UN coordinator for Ebola, briefed the PBC organisational committee. In a statement, the PBC noted its deep concern that the Ebola outbreak may reverse peacebuilding gains. Another informal joint meeting of the configurations was held on 3 November. As a follow-up, Patriota sent the Secretary-General a letter requesting a report to assess the epidemic’s impact on peacebuilding in the three countries.

A roundtable of Burundi and its main bilateral and multilateral partners, attended by configuration chair Ambassador Paul Seger (Switzerland), was held on 11-12 December 2014 in Bujumbura. In a joint declaration, participants renewed and redefined mutual commitments in light of progress achieved and remaining challenges. Prior to that, Seger participated in a workshop in Cairo on 24-25 November on regional aspects of peacebuilding (S/2014/882), followed by meetings with AU officials in Addis Ababa on 26 November as part of a visit by PBC country-configuration chairs. The UN Office in Burundi was set to close on 31 December.

Ambassador Omar Hilale (Morocco), chair of the CAR configuration, also participated in the Cairo workshop and was among the delegation that travelled to Addis Ababa. On 15 December 2014, the Peacebuilding Fund approved $2.7 million for a project to re-establish social cohesion and facilitate national reconciliation in the CAR.

Patriota, who chairs the Guinea-Bissau configuration, travelled to Guinea-Bissau from 29 to 30 October 2014. Briefing the Council on 18 November, Patriota warned that Guinea-Bissau’s recent positive developments could be reversed if the Ebola epidemic were to spread to the country. He called for the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response to increase its assistance to bolster its preparedness in case of an outbreak (S/PV.7315).

Key Issues

A key issue will be the 2015 review of peacebuilding.

Related to the review is the relationship between the PBC and the Council and practices to enhance its advisory role to the Council.

Relapses into conflict in December 2012 in CAR and December 2013 in South Sudan and the ramifications of the Ebola epidemic for peacebuilding gains in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone will be important issues.


The Council may adopt a presidential statement:

  • expressing its support of the 2015 peacebuilding review;
  • reiterating calls for international assistance to combat Ebola in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and to support neighbouring countries’ preparedness; and
  • providing a timetable for the Secretary-General’s future reporting on peacebuilding.

Another option is organising a brainstorming with representatives of the UN peacebuilding architecture (PBC, Peacebuilding Fund and Peacebuilding Support Office), the broader UN system, post-conflict states that are not on the PBC agenda and other related processes, including the other 2015 high-level reviews on peacekeeping and on women, peace and security to discuss and promote the inclusion of all related actors in the upcoming review.

Council Dynamics

A lack of Council support for the PBC has been cited as contributing to some of the shortcomings of the body. For instance, some of the P5 oppose allowing configuration chairs to participate in consultations. Recently, there have been efforts to develop other ways to take better advantage of the PBC’s advisory role. These have included briefings by configuration chairs for Council experts organised before the mandate renewals of missions in PBC-agenda countries and quarterly stock-taking meetings of Council members, configuration chairs and PBC-agenda countries. Australia, Luxembourg and Rwanda, which have been strong advocates of these initiatives, are exiting the Council. While it remains to be seen which members might fill their place in advancing Council and PBC collaboration, it is noteworthy that the ambassador of incoming Council member Angola, Ismael Abraão Gaspar Martins, was the first chair of the PBC.

There is no designated penholder on peacebuilding. As Council president in January, Chile will likely be the lead on a statement.

UN Documents

Security Council Resolution
29 October 2010 S/RES/1947 This resolution requested all relevant UN actors to take forward the recommendations of the PBC five-year review within their relevant mandates with the aim of further improving the effectiveness of the PBC.
Security Council Presidential Statement
20 December 2012 S/PRST/2012/29 This presidential statement was on post-conflict peacebuilding and emphasised the importance of inclusivity in national peacebuilding processes.
Security Council Letter
24 October 2014 S/2014/763 This was a letter from the Secretary-General about the 2015 comprehensive review of peacebuilding.
Security Council Meeting Record
15 July 2014 S/PV.7217 This was a briefing by Ambassadors Vladimir Drobnjak (Croatia) and Antonio de Aguiar Patriota (Brazil), the past and current PBC chairs, who presented the 2013 PBC annual report (S/2014/67).
Secretary-General’s Report
23 September 2014 S/2014/694 This was on peacebuilding in the aftermath of conflict.