On 5 October, the Council held a briefing on UN peacekeeping operations that focused on strategic force generation (S/PV.8064). Briefers included Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix; Ambassador Masud Bin Momen of Bangladesh; and Ambassador Marc-André Blanchard of Canada. Lacroix said that “clear, prioritised mandates” can help the Department of Peacekeeping Operations “to better guide and assess the performance of uniformed capabilities”. Ambassador Bin Momen encouraged troop contributors to tailor their pledges to the specific needs of peacekeeping missions. Blanchard briefed on the planning for the 2017 UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial Conference, scheduled to take place in Vancouver 14-15 November.
Mali and the Sahel
On 5 October, the Council held a briefing and consultations on Mali (S/PV.8062). The Council was briefed by Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Mali and head of MINUSMA Mahamat Saleh Annadif based on the 28 September Secretary-General’s report (S/2017/811). Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop of Mali also spoke at the meeting. The need to prevent the gains achieved in Mali from being reversed featured prominently at the meeting. In a 6 October press statement, Council members expressed their deep concern over the persistent delays in the full implementation of key provisions of the 2015 Peace and Reconciliation Agreement and urged the parties to adopt without delay an agreed-upon chronogram (timeline) for its implementation (SC/13019).
On 18-23 October, Council members undertook a visiting mission to the Sahel (Burkina Faso, Mali and Mauritania). The objective of the mission was to assess the situation of the countries of the G5 Sahel, in particular regarding the level and the nature of the threat posed by terrorism and transnational organised crime, as well as to assess the status of the operationalisation of the G5 Sahel joint force. Furthermore, the visiting mission aimed to deliver a clear message to the parties in Mali regarding the need to accelerate the implementation of the Agreement.
On 30 October, the Council was briefed by Secretary-General António Guterres and discussed a 16 October report on the activities of the joint force (S/2017/869), including the challenges encountered in its operationalisation and possible measures for consideration. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the AU Commission, and the Foreign Minister of Mali Abdulaye Diop, as rotating President of the G5 Sahel, addressed the Council as well. The other members of the G5 Sahel (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mauritania and Niger) also participates in the meeting. The discussion was chaired by Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs.
On 3 October, Under Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix briefed Council members in consultations on the 27 September Secretary-General’s report (S/2017/810).
On 5 October, the Council adopted resolution 2381 expanding the mandate of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia (S/PV.8063). The resolution tasks the mission with monitoring the bilateral and temporary ceasefire agreed to by the Government of Colombia and the Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN). The Council authorised the deployment of no more than 70 additional international observers to help the mission take on this further responsibility. Also on 5 October, the Council adopted a presidential statement recognising the work of the UN Mission in Colombia and welcoming the remarkable achievements in Colombia following the 2016 agreement (S/PRST/2017/18).
On 12 October, outgoing Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Haiti Sandra Honoré delivered the final briefing on the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) ahead of its 15 October closure (S/PV.8068). On 17 October, the Council adopted a presidential statement that recognised the contribution MINUSTAH had made in restoring security and stability throughout its 13‑year tenure, expressed appreciation of the efforts of the UN Country Team, and welcomed the work of the UN Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH), which succeeded MINUSTAH on 16 October (S/PRST/2017/20).
On 12 October, Secretary-General António Guterres briefed the Council (S/PV.8069) on “country-specific impediments to an effective response to the risk of famine in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and northeast Nigeria” in accordance with the Council’s 9 August presidential statement (S/PRST/2017/14). During his briefing, Guterres urged an increase in humanitarian aid to address these crises.
On 13 October, at the initiative of France and the United Kingdom, an Arria-formula meeting was held on Myanmar, focusing on the situation in Rakhine state. Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan briefed in his capacity as the Chair of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, which was comprised of both Myanmar and international commissioners and published a final report on 23 August that included recommendations for improving the situation in the state with regard to conflict prevention, humanitarian assistance, reconciliation, institution-building and development.
On 18 October, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Miroslav Jenča briefed the Council in the quarterly open debate on the Middle East (S/PV.8072)
Women, Peace and Security
On 27 October, the Council held its annual open debate on Women, Peace and Security with briefings by Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed; Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka; Secretary-General of the International Organisation of Francophonie Michaëlle Jean; and Charo Mina Rojas, a civil society representative from Colombia (S/PV.8079). The Council also considered the Secretary-General’s annual report on the issue (S/2017/861).
Children and Armed Conflict
At press time, on 31 October, the Council was scheduled to hold an open debate on children and armed conflict. The Secretary-General was expected to present his annual report, and the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict Virginia Gamba will brief. In addition, Mubin Shaikh, a former child soldier, will speak about his experience. The debate is expected to focus on violations committed by non-state armed groups, including violent extremist groups and those that commit acts of terrorism. Council members have been negotiating a presidential statement which is expected to be adopted at the meeting.
On 13 October, France, Italy, Sweden and Uruguay organised an Arria-formula meeting on attacks on schools. The briefers were Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict Virginia Gamba; Joy Bishara, one of the female students kidnapped by Boko Haram in 2014; and Zama Neff, co-chair of the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack. The meeting provided members and NGOs with an opportunity to hear a first-hand account of the impact of attacks on schools. Member states shared experience of their efforts in protecting schools from military use, highlighted the importance of education, and called for stronger protection measures. A number of members highlighted the Safe Schools Declaration, a voluntary, political commitment from governments not to use schools for military purposes and to protect them during military operations.
On 17 October, members of the Security Council issued a press statement, condemning terrorist attacks that took place in Paktia, Ghazni and Kabul on that day, which resulted in more than 70 people killed and over 200 wounded, for which the Taliban has claimed responsibility (SC/13034).
On 21 October, Council members issued a press statement, condemning a terrorist attack that took place the previous day, in El Wahat desert, Egypt, where a large number of policemen were killed and injured (SC/13039).
On 10 October, the Chair (Kazakhstan) of the 1267/1989/2253 Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) (Da’esh) & Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee briefed the Committee on his visit to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Singapore. The Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team delivered its quarterly oral briefing pursuant to paragraph 99 of resolution 2368 (2017). The Committee met on 17 October for an update on its work from the Chair and the Monitoring Team. On 23 October, the Committee met with representatives of the European Union on legal issues pertaining to sanctions.
On 12 October, the 1373 Counter-Terrorism Committee met to discuss various issues, including the recent engagement by the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate with the Global Counter-Terrorism Research Network on new trends and challenges related to terrorism. On 26 October, the Committee held a meeting on “the role of financial institutions and other entities in preventing terrorist financing.” At press time, another committee meeting was scheduled on 31 October.
On 10 October, the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen Ismaïl Ould Cheikh Ahmed and OCHA Operations Director John Ging briefed the Council (S/PV.8066). During his briefing, the Special Envoy did not report any progress regarding the package of confidence-building measures that he has been pursuing, and said that “the parties have to commit to…start discussions for a comprehensive agreement”. In describing the humanitarian crisis, Ging outlined the ongoing challenges facing humanitarian and commercial access and the impact of non-payment of civil servant salaries. Closed consultations followed the public session. Council members subsequently issued elements to the press in which they deeply regretted the lack of progress in the political process and the worsening of the humanitarian situation. They reaffirmed the need for all parties, especially the Houthis, to engage meaningfully with the UN Special Envoy’s comprehensive proposals for peace and to make progress towards a ceasefire and resolution of the conflict.