Lake Chad Basin
On 2 March, Council members issued a press statement condemning the 19 February Boko Haram kidnapping of 110 school girls in Dapchi, Nigeria, and a 1 March attack in Rann, Nigeria that led to the deaths of at least three humanitarian workers, four Nigerian soldiers, and four Nigerian police (SC/13233). On 22 March, the Council met to discuss the Lake Chad Basin and the implementation of resolution 2349, with a focus on the root causes of the Boko Haram crisis. Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohamed briefed, as did Mohammed Bila of the Lake Chad Basin Commission and Chitra Nagarajan, a Senior Conflict Advisor with the think tank and public policy consultancy Adelphi (S/PV.8212).
On 2 March, Council members issued a press statement condemning the terrorist attacks which took place that day in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, against the army headquarters and the French Embassy (SC/13234). On 9 March, the 1267/1989/2253 ISIL and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee, the 1373 Counterterrorism Committee (CTC) and the Afghanistan Sanctions Committee held joint informal consultations. At press time, on 29 March, the CTC was expected to hold its monthly formal meeting, and a representative of the Global Counterterrorism Forum briefed the committee.
1267/1989/2253 Sanctions Committee
On 6 March, the 1267/1989/2253 ISIL and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee added two individuals and one entity to the sanctions list (SC/13237). On 9 March, the 1267/1989/2253, the Counterterrorism Committee and the Afghanistan Sanctions Committee held joint informal consultations. At press time, on 29 March, the 1267/1989/2253 and Afghanistan sanctions committees, were expected to be briefed by Lars Tummers, special envoy for counter-terrorism at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Ismail Chikkori, Director of Global Affairs at the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, in their capacity as co-chairs of the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum.
Central African Republic
On 6 March, Council members issued a press statement condemning an attack against education workers near Markounda in the north‑western part of the CAR on 25 February 2018 by unknown assailants, which resulted in the killing of one UNICEF education consultant, two officials of the Ministry of Education of the CAR, and three members of a UNICEF national partner organisation, Bangui Sans Frontières (SC/13236). On 16 March, the Panel of Experts assisting the 2127 CAR Sanctions Committee presented their programme of work to the committee.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
On 7 March, Leila Zerrougui, Special Representative and head of MONUSCO, briefed the Council (S/PV.8198) on the latest MONUSCO report (S/2018/174) and the report of the Secretary-General on progress in the implementation of the 31 December 2016 political agreement (S/2018/128). Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix also participated in the consultations that followed. On 19 March, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Mark Lowcock; Jeanine Bandu Bahati, Coordinator of “Encadrement des Femmes Indigènes et des Ménages Vulnérables”; and Abbé Donatien Nshole, Secretary-General and spokesperson of the Congolese National Episcopal Conference, briefed the Council on the humanitarian situation in the DRC (S/PV.8207). Council members issued a press statement on 22 March, expressing their concern over the deteriorating humanitarian situation (SC/13260). On 27 March, the Council adopted resolution 2409 renewing the mandate of MONUSCO until 31 March 2019. On 23 March, Zerrougui and a representative of the Joint Mission Analysis Centre of MONUSCO (responsible for monitoring the arms embargo) briefed the 1533 DRC Sanctions Committee on the security situation via video teleconference. A representative of the UN Mine Action Service also briefed the committee.
On 8 March, the Council held a debate on the situation in Afghanistan with a briefing by Special Representative of the Secretary‑General for Afghanistan Tadamichi Yamamoto, Deputy Chairperson of the High Peace Council Habibi Sarabi, and Executive Director of the Organization for Policy Research and Development Studies Mariam Safi (S/PV.8199). Yamamoto briefed on the latest UNAMA report (S/2018/165), the security situation, the preparation for the elections, and the conference of the Kabul Process for Peace and Security Cooperation, which endorsed the call for direct talks between the Government and the Taliban. Sarabi and Safi centered their briefings on women’s rights and the role of women in the Afghan peace process. Ahead of the debate, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 2405 which extended the mandate of UNAMA for another year, while also welcoming the strategic review of the mission and calling for implementation of its recommendations. On 15 March, Council members issued a press statement welcoming the convening of the Kabul Process conference and calling on the Taliban to accept the offer of direct talks with the government (SC/13251). On 21 March, Council members condemned the terrorist attack in Kabul, claimed by ISIL, which resulted in at least 33 people killed and 65 injured (SC/13258).
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)
On 8 March, Italian Foreign Minister and current OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Angelino Alfano briefed the Council on main priorities of the Italian chairmanship of the organisation (S/PV.8200). These include fighting transnational threats to peace and security, combating racism and xenophobia, and promoting the rights of women. In his briefing, Alfano devoted significant attention to the situation in Ukraine, where the OSCE plays an important role in monitoring the implementation of the Minsk agreements.
Children and Armed Conflict
The Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict met on 12 March for the introduction of the Secretary-General’s report on children and armed conflict in Mali. It also discussed the Global Horizontal Note for the period of July to September 2017, and heard a briefing from Germany’s Deputy Permanent Representative Ambassador Jürgen Schulz on the Berlin Workshop on Children and Armed Conflict held from 12-13 February. It had another meeting on 26 March to negotiate conclusions on the report on children and armed conflict in Mali.
Somalia and Eritrea
On 13 March, the chair of the 751/1907 Somalia and Eritrea Sanctions Committee, Kairat Umarov (Kazakhstan), delivered his regular 120-day briefing to Council members in consultations. On 27 March, the Council adopted resolution 2408, renewing the mandate of UNSOM for an additional year.
On 14 March, the Council was briefed on UNAMID by Joint Special Representative for Darfur and head of UNAMID Jeremiah Mamabolo (via video teleconference) on the Secretary-General’s latest 60-day report on this issue (S/2018/154). Ambassador Joanna Wronecka (Poland), the chair of the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee, provided the quarterly briefing to Council members on the Committee’s work (S/PV.8202). The briefings were followed by consultations. Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children in Armed Conflict Virginia Gamba briefed members in the consultations.
Use of Nerve Agent
On 14 March, a meeting was convened regarding the use of a nerve agent in Salisbury in the UK (S/PV.8203). The UK requested the meeting to update members on its investigations into the 4 March attack, which resulted in the poisoning of three individuals: Sergei Skripal, a former Russian intelligence officer who spied for the UK, and his daughter, both of whom are reportedly in a critical condition, as well as a police officer, who became ill while investigating the incident. During the meeting, at which all Council members spoke, UK Chargé d’Affaires Ambassador Jonathan Allen stated that: “Either this was a direct attack by Russia on my country, or Russia has lost control of a military-grade nerve agent that it had developed”. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia (Russia) said that the accusations were “unfounded” and “totally unacceptable.”
Crimea Arria-Formula meeting
On 15 March, Council members held an Arria-formula meeting (open to media and wider UN membership) on the Crimea, which was organised by the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, the UK and the US, in partnership with the Ukraine. The meeting, which came at the fourth anniversary of the Russia annexation of Crimea, focused on the role and limits of the Council and good offices of the Secretary-General in addressing violations of the UN Charter and international law. Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Olena Zerkal and a representative of the Crimean Tatars, Ayla Bakkalli, provided briefings. In addition to the briefers and members of the Council, Germany and the EU delivered statements as parties with an interest in the issue. Ambassador Olof Skoog (Sweden) provided opening remarks, and Ambassador Joanna Wronecka (Poland) gave closing remarks.
On 19 March, the Council adopted a presidential statement (S/PRST/2018/6) on the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (S/PV.8208). The statement requested the Mechanism to present its latest progress report by 15 April, and it requested detailed schedules for the proceedings currently under consideration and factors relevant to projected completion dates for cases and other matters over which the Mechanism had jurisdiction. The statement also requested the Informal Working Group on International Tribunals to carry out a thorough examination of the Mechanism’s report, as well as the report on the evaluation of its working methods by the Office of Internal Oversight Services, due to be submitted by 31 March 2018. This review must be completed by 15 May and its outcome shall be reflected by the Security Council in an appropriate form.
On 20 March, Acting UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Pernille Dahler Kardel briefed Council members in consultations on the latest Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of resolution 1701 (S/2018/210).
DPRK (North Korea)
On 21 March, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of UNSMIL Ghassan Salamé, briefed the Council via video teleconference from Tripoli (S/PV.8211). He presented the 12 February report of the Secretary-General (S/2018/140). Ambassador Carl Skau, Chargé d’affaires ad interim of Sweden, briefed the Council on behalf of the Chair of the 1970 Libya Sanctions Committee.
Conflict and Hunger
On 23 March, the Council convened a briefing on conflict and hunger. Netherlands Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag chaired the session, which included briefings from Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock and Executive Director of the World Food Programme David Beasley (S/PV.8213).
UNDOF (Golan Heights)
On 27 March, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix briefed Council members in consultations on the latest report of the Secretary-General on the situation in the Golan Heights (S/2018/244).
On 28 March, the Council held an open debate on peacekeeping. The meeting was chaired by the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte. The Council was briefed by Secretary-General António Guterres; the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat; and Fatimata Touré, Director of the Groupe de Recherche d’Etude de Formation Femme Action, a Malian NGO.