January 2015 Monthly Forecast

Posted 23 December 2014
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ASIA

UNRCCA (Central Asia)

Expected Council Action

In January, 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. As is customary following these semi-annual meetings, a press statement is expected.  

Key Recent Developments

Jenča last briefed Council members on 26 June. In the subsequent press statement, Council members reiterated their support for UNRCCA as an early-warning and preventive-diplomacy tool. They highlighted in particular its role in assisting Central Asian countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) in managing their trans-boundary water resources. They also took note of the ongoing discussions on a regional legal framework for water management and the 17 June World Bank draft assessment of the proposed Rogun hydropower project in Tajikistan, while encouraging the countries’ active and constructive engagement. In addition, Council members reiterated their support for UNRCCA’s work on counter-terrorism and prevention of religious extremism, which is aimed at facilitating implementation of the UN global counter-terrorism strategy. Finally, they commended UNRCCA’s role in helping countries in the region combat drug trafficking and in facilitating their engagement in the reconstruction and stabilisation of Afghanistan.

On 18 June the Secretary-General had welcomed the World Bank assessment, noting that it provided “important guidance for critical consultations among the region’s states on water and energy issues”, and encouraged the governments involved to engage in a constructive discussion. The assessment, “Key Issues for Consideration on the Proposed Rogun Hydropower Project”, a final version of which was issued on 1 September, concluded that the Rogun project could be built and operated within international safety norms if modifications were made to the original design and measures were taken to mitigate environmental and societal impacts, such as population resettlement and the effect on downstream irrigation. Meanwhile, Uzbekistan, which will be affected by the dam as a downstream country, remains opposed to the project.  

Since Jenča’s last briefing, UNRCCA has organised several regional events. On 9-11 July it held a regional seminar in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, in cooperation with the UN Counter-Terrorism Task Force on engaging the media in countering terrorism in Central Asia. On 11-12 November, UNRCCA organised a seminar in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, in cooperation with others on the impact of glacial melting on national and trans-boundary water systems.   

On 20-21 November, UNRCCA convened an international seminar in Almaty, Kazakhstan, entitled “Regional Cooperation as a Factor for Peace and Stability in Central Asia”, as part of a series of strategic dialogues with the expert community in the region. On 28 November, it convened the annual regional meeting of deputy ministers of foreign affairs. The meeting included consultations on UNRCCA’s next three-year programme of action, due to begin on 1 January 2015.

Key Issues

Key issues include ongoing tensions relating to trans-boundary water management and other border-related disputes, the threat of terrorism (including recent reports of recruitment from Central Asia by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham), religious extremism and drug trafficking.  The regional impact of the situation in Afghanistan also remains a key issue.

With regard to UNRCCA, a key issue is the finalisation of its programme of action. At press time the programme had not yet been made public, but it was expected to focus largely on the same priorities as the previous programme, i.e. trans-boundary threats facing the region, including terrorism, organised crime and drug trafficking; implications of national developments on regional stability; and management of common natural resources and environmental degradation.

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 and perhaps adding a reference to the new programme of action (which will likely be finalised by then).

UN Documents

Security Council Letter
26 June 2014 SC/11457 This press statement emphasised the importance of preventive diplomacy amd commended UNRCCA’s efforts to assist countries in the region on issues such as trans-boundary water management, counter-terrorism and drug trafficking.
Security Council Press Statements
15 May 2007 S/2007/280 This was a letter from the President of the Security Council on the Secretary-General’s intention to establish a United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy in Ashgabat.
7 May 2007 S/2007/279 This was a letter from the Secretary-General on the establishment of a United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy in Ashgabat.