The “joint presidencies” of France and Germany continue in April as Germany assumes the Council presidency. The role of women in conflict situations, international humanitarian law and disarmament, all stated priorities of the ”joint presidencies”, feature strongly in April’s programme of work.
The month will start with a briefing on strengthening respect for international humanitarian law, presided over by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. Anticipated briefers include ICRC President Peter Maurer, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock, and Naz Modirzadeh, Director, Harvard Law School Program on International Law and Armed Conflict. Ahead of this briefing there will be an Arria-formula meeting on protecting humanitarian and medical personnel in conflict organised by France.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi is expected to provide a briefing on the current state of refugees worldwide and the displacement aspect of various conflicts on the Council agenda.
There will be three open debates: on women in peacekeeping; on fighting and preventing sexual violence in conflict situations; and the quarterly open debate on Israel/Palestine. Maas will preside over the debate on sexual violence in conflict during which the Secretary-General’s annual report on this problem will be presented. Secretary-General António Guterres and Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict Pramila Patten are expected to participate, as are the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Dr. Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad and international human rights lawyer Amal Clooney. The open debate on peacekeeping will focus on the importance of and the need for increasing women’s participation in peacekeeping operations and integrating gender perspectives into the work of these operations, with a briefing by Guterres.
There will also be a briefing on the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) ahead of the 2020 review conference chaired by Maas with expected briefings by the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Yukiya Amano and Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu.
The Council is expected to renew the mandates of the UN missions in Haiti (MINUJUSTH) and in Western Sahara (MINURSO) in April. The Council will hold a debate on Haiti prior to the renewal of MINUJUSTH. There will be a TCC meeting and consultations ahead of the renewal of MINURSO planned for the end of the month.
Regarding African issues, the Council will discuss developments in relation to UNISFA in Abyei and Sudan/South Sudan relations. The Council is also expected to decide whether to extend UNISFA’s support to the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism. There will be a briefing and consultations on UNAMID in Darfur.
In addition to the quarterly open debate on Israel/Palestine, Middle East issues that will be considered include:
- Syria, the monthly briefings on the humanitarian situation, the political process and the use of chemical weapons; and
- Yemen, an update on the implementation of resolution 2452, which established the UN Mission to support the Hodeidah Agreement (UNMHA).
A briefing followed by consultations on the Secretary-General’s 90-day report on the UN Verification Mission in Colombia is also anticipated.