May 2017 Monthly Forecast

Posted 28 April 2017
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Expected Council Action

In May, the Council is scheduled to receive a briefing from the chairs of its counter-terrorism-related committees. The briefers will be Ambassador Kairat Umarov (Kazakhstan), chair of the 1267/1989/2253 Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) (Da’esh) & Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee; Ambassador Amr Abdellatif Aboulatta (Egypt), chair of the 1373 Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC); and Ambassador Sacha Sergio Llorentty Solíz (Bolivia), chair of the 1540 Committee, which focuses on the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. In the past, the joint briefings were semi-annual. However starting with the briefing of 4 May 2016, they are now held annually.

Key Recent Developments

1267/1989/2253 ISIL (Da’esh) & Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee

The Council received the 19th report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team assisting the Committee on 11 January. The report noted that despite states’ efforts, ISIL and Al-Qaida affiliates continue to present complex and diverse challenges to international security. On the issue of foreign terrorist fighters, the report noted that their overall flow to Iraq and Syria has slowed, and sanctions levied against ISIL have begun to take effect, in particular with respect to the trade in antiquities illegally removed from Iraq and Syria.

The Secretary-General’s fourth report on the threat posed by ISIL of 2 February noted that the group is adapting to military pressure by altering its communications methods. ISIL continues to encourage its followers and sympathisers outside conflict zones to perpetrate attacks including, in some cases, in their countries of origin. On 7 February, the Council was briefed by Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman on the report, followed by consultations.

1373 Counter-Terrorism Committee

On 13 February, the Council held an open debate on the protection of critical infrastructure against terrorist attacks. The Council adopted resolution 2341, directing the CTC and the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED) assisting it to continue to examine member states’ efforts to protect critical infrastructure. In accordance with the resolution, CTED published a report on 8 March, which compiled relevant analysis from academia and international and regional organisations.

The CTC was jointly briefed by Assistant Secretary-General and deputy head of UN Women Lakshmi Puri and CTED on 30 March. The briefers focused on efforts to advance the implementation of Security Council resolution 2242 of 13 October 2015 on women’s roles in countering violent extremism and terrorism, in the context of the Committee’s work.

1540 Committee

Solíz briefed the Council on the work of the Committee on 16 March. According to resolution 2325, which was adopted on 15 December 2016 and endorsed the 2016 comprehensive review of the implementation of resolution 1540, the Committee will brief the Council in the first quarter of each year, in addition to the joint annual briefing with the other counter-terrorism committees.

In his briefing, Solíz said the Committee intended to build on the momentum generated by resolution 2325 towards more effective implementation of resolution 1540. He went on to highlight some of the key elements of the programme of work for 2017. The Committee will focus on the objective of achieving universal reporting by all member states as soon as possible and continue to encourage states to submit additional information regarding implementation. The Committee will also pay particular attention to the need to improve the system for the provision of assistance, including by revising the assistance template by the end of March 2017 to support states in developing more detailed and effective assistance requests. In this context, he welcomed the role played by international and regional organisations in responding to requests for assistance. In addition, Solíz highlighted the value of states’ appointing national 1540 points of contact, co-hosting regional 1540 seminars, and making contributions to the UN Trust Fund for Global and Regional Disarmament Activities.

Key Issues

A key issue for the committees is to ensure that they are able to address the widening scope and various facets of the Council’s counter-terrorism agenda, within their respective mandates.

A particular issue for the 1267/1989/2253 Committee is to continue to strengthen compliance with the sanctions regime by member states.

A key issue for the 1540 Committee is the follow-up to the key findings and conclusions of the 2016 comprehensive review.

Council Dynamics

Despite some divergences over the politicisation of the issue in the Middle East, counter-terrorism continues to have overall unanimous support among Council members. In the past, most counter-terrorism-related discussions were held in the Council’s subsidiary organs, but over the last two years the Council has discussed and adopted decisions on various aspects of counter-terrorism and related issues, including foreign terrorist fighters, international judicial cooperation on counter-terrorism, and protection of critical infrastructure against terrorist threats. This trend, initiated by Russia, has resulted from a desire for the Council itself to tackle this set of issues regularly and develop strategic thinking.

With regard to the 1540 Committee, it seems that the divisions that emerged during the 2016 comprehensive review are continuing to impact the work of the Committee this year.  In particular, Russia is seen as continuing to resist the more ambitious approach to implementation of resolution 1540 and the role of the Committee advocated by the P3 and others.

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Security Council Resolutions
24 March 2017 S/RES/2347 This was a resolution on protection of cultural heritage in armed conflicts.
13 February 2017 S/RES/2341 This was resolution on protection of critical infrastructure against terrorist threats.
20 December 2016 S/RES/2331 This was the first-ever resolution on human trafficking, which condemned the phenomenon and stressed how human trafficking can exacerbate conflict and foster insecurity.
15 December 2016 S/RES/2325 This was a resolution on the 1540 Committee.
17 December 2015 S/RES/2253 This was a resolution strengthening the Al Qaida sanctions regime and focusing on the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The sanctions regime was also renamed the “1267/1989/2253 ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions List” to reflect this focus.
Security Council Meeting Records
16 March 2017 S/PV.7900 This was a briefing by the chair of the 1540 Sanctions Committee on the work of the Committee.
13 February 2017 S/PV.7882 This was meeting on the protection of critical infrastructure against terrorist attacks.
7 February 2017 S/PV.7877 The Council was briefed by Jeffrey Feltman, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, on UN counter-terrorism efforts in support of member states’ fight against ISIL.
14 December 2016 S/PV.7837 This was an open debate titled, “Preventing Catastrophe: A Global Agenda for Stopping the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction to Non-State Actors”.
Sanctions Committee Documents
10 February 2017 S/2017/126 This was the 1540 Committee’s programme of work.
11 January 2017 S/2017/35 This letter transmitted the nineteenth report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team.
9 December 2016 S/2016/1038 This was the final document on the 2016 comprehensive review of the status of implementation of resolution 1540.
1 August 2016 S/2016/671 This was the 12th report of the Office of the Ombudsperson.

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