In March, the Netherlands takes over the presidency of the Security Council. It has chosen as its centrepiece an open debate on “Collective Action to improve UN Peacekeeping Operations”, which is expected to be chaired by the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte. Secretary-General António Guterres will brief.
There will be two meetings connected to issues of scarcity of natural resources. The first is a briefing on the Lake Chad Basin, with a specific focus on the root causes of the Boko Haram crisis. The second is a briefing on Conflict and Hunger, which is a follow-up to last year’s August meeting and presidential statement on famine.
The Council will hold its regular quarterly debate on Afghanistan during which a resolution extending the mandate of UNAMA is expected to be adopted. The meeting will be held on International Women’s Day and may therefore have a specific focus on women, peace and security issues in Afghanistan.
Council members will follow closely the humanitarian situation in Syria after the adoption of a resolution calling for a 30-day humanitarian cessation of hostilities was adopted on 24 February. The resolution requested the Secretary-General to report on the implementation of the resolution and the compliance of parties every 15 days. In addition, Council members will receive their regular briefing on the political developments in Syria by Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura. Instead of the regular briefing on chemical weapons, there will be an informal interactive dialogue on Syria chemical weapons with the Office of Disarmament Affairs and the Director General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons participating.
There will be discussions on several other Middle East issues this month:
- Golan Heights, quarterly briefing on UNDOF;
- Israel/Palestine, monthly briefing and consultations; and
- Lebanon, update on UNIFIL’s activities.
Regarding African issues, the Council will have several meetings on the DRC. A briefing, followed by consultations, on the situation in the DRC is planned for early in the month ahead of the adoption of a resolution to renew the mandate of MONUSCO. In addition, a briefing on the humanitarian situation has been scheduled in order to hear from the Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, Mark Lowcock, who will have visited the DRC in March.
The mandate of the UN Mission in South Sudan will be renewed in March. On Darfur, there will be a meeting on the Secretary-General’s report on UNAMID, and the quarterly briefing by Ambassador Joanna Wronecka (Poland), chair of the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee, on the Committee’s work.
Other African issues on the programme include:
- Libya, update on UNMIL and sanctions;
- Somalia, renewal of UNSOM and consultations on the 751/1907 Somalia/Eritrea Sanctions Committee; and
- Western Sahara, on the activities of MINURSO.
The mandate of the Panel of Experts of the 1718 DPRK Sanctions Committee will be renewed.
Finally, the annual briefing on the activities of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe will be held.