On 3 December 2019, the Council received a briefing, followed by consultations, on Iraq. Special Representative and head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert briefed the Council on the Secretary-General’s latest report on UNAMI and the issue of missing Kuwaiti and third-country nationals and missing Kuwaiti property, including the national archives and the most recent developments in the country. Roberto Mardini, Permanent Observer of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to the UN, and Monsignor Bashar Matti Warda, Archbishop of Erbil, also briefed. On 13 December 2019, Council members issued a press statement expressing grave concern at the loss of life of those demonstrating and at the killing, maiming, and arbitrary arrests of unarmed demonstrators, and welcomed efforts for an inclusive dialogue between the Government and people of Iraq.
On 4 December 2019, the Council adopted resolution 2500, renewing the counter-piracy measures off the coast of Somalia for 12 months.
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)
On 4 December 2019, Council members discussed under “any other business” in consultations the latest missile launches by the DPRK, including the launch of two missiles on November 28. Following the meeting, the EU members of the Council, joined by incoming member Estonia, made a joint statement at the press stake-out condemning the provocative actions by the DPRK while also emphasising that ballistic missile launches represent a clear violation of Security Council resolutions. On 11 December, the Council received a briefing on non-proliferation related issues in the DPRK. Mohamed Khaled Khiari, Assistant Secretary-General for the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific, briefed the Council on the recent string of ballistic missile launches by the DPRK and rising tensions on the Korean peninsula. Council members expressed concern and called for the continuation of the dialogue on denuclearisation.
On 6 December 2019, François Louncény Fall, Special Representative and head of the UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), briefed the Council on the situation in Central Africa and the latest Secretary-General’s report on the activities of UNOCA. Sasha Lezhnev, Deputy Director of Policy at the Enough Project, which supports peace and an end to mass atrocities in Africa’s deadliest conflict zones, also briefed the Council.
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
On 6 December 2019, Council members held a meeting in consultations under “any other business” to discuss the situation in eastern DRC after an attack and protests took place against a compound of the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) in Beni. Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix briefed members after visiting Beni earlier in the week. After the meeting, a US representative—as president of the Council—read out elements to the press. In the elements, Council members condemned the attacks against civilians and Ebola responders. The members also expressed their full support for MONUSCO’s efforts to protect civilians. On 19 December 2019, the Council adopted resolution 2502, renewing the mandate of MONUSCO until 20 December 2020.
Arria-formula Meeting on “Protection of the Environment during Armed Conflict”
On 9 December 2019, an Arria-formula meeting was convened on the “Protection of the Environment during Armed Conflict”. It was co-hosted by Council members Germany, Kuwait and Peru, and incoming member Estonia. Panelists included Assistant Secretary-General and head of the New York Office of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Satya Tripathi and Willem Zwijnenburg, the Humanitarian Disarmament Leader at PAX. Tripathi maintained that UN technical and scientific entities need to work more closely with the UN’s peace and security architecture with respect to protecting the environment in armed conflict. Zwijnenburg called for the Security Council to build its knowledge and expertise on the issue through formal briefings and open debates. Following statements by the panelists, Council members (except China) and incoming member Estonia made interventions.
UN Criminal Tribunals
On 11 December 2019, the Security Council held its semi-annual debate on the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT). The IRMCT’s president, Judge Carmel Agius, and prosecutor, Serge Brammertz, briefed on their respective assessment reports. They also met with the Council’s Informal Working Group on International Tribunals prior to the debate, on 9 December 2019.
On 12 December 2019, Ambassador Joanna Wronecka (Poland), chair of the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee, provided the quarterly briefing to Council members on the Committee’s work. On 18 December 2019, the Council received the semi-annual briefing of the ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda related to the court’s work on Darfur (S/PV.8691).
On 12 December 2019, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix briefed Council members in consultations on the Secretary-General’s latest report on the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) and the most recent developments. On 19 December 2019, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 2503, renewing UNDOF’s mandate until 30 June 2020.
Youth, Peace and Security
On 12 December 2019, the Council adopted a presidential statement on the role African youth can play in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and as a key aspect of the sustainability, inclusiveness and success of peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts on the continent.
On 16 December 2019, the Council held a briefing on intercommunal violence and terrorism in West Africa. Briefings via VTC were given by Special Representative and head of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) Mohamed Ibn Chambas and AU Peace and Security Commissioner Smaїl Chergui. The concept note for the meeting, organised by Côte d’Ivoire and the US, noted that it was being held to discuss the “shared drivers of intercommunal violence and violent extremism”.
On 16 December 2019, the Council held its quarterly meeting on Afghanistan. Tadamichi Yamamoto, the Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), briefed on the Secretary-General’s latest report on UNAMA and the most recent developments. Aisha Khurram, Afghanistan’s current Youth Representative to the UN, also briefed. Also on 16 December 2019, the Council adopted resolution 2501, renewing for 12 months the mandate of the Monitoring Team assisting the 1988 Afghanistan Sanctions Committee.
On 17 December 2019, the Council was briefed on the Secretary-General’s 90-day report on South Sudan by Special Representative for South Sudan and head of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) David Shearer. Ambassador Joanna Wronecka (Poland), chair of the 2206 South Sudan Sanctions Committee, also briefed. Consultations followed the briefing.
On 17 December 2019, the Council held its annual briefing by the outgoing chairs of the Security Council subsidiary bodies. The briefings came from Ambassador Kacou Houadja Léon Adom (Côte d’Ivoire) on the 2127 Central African Republic (CAR) Sanctions Committee and the Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations; Ambassador Anatolio Ndong Mba (Equatorial Guinea) on the 1636 Lebanon Sanctions Committee and the 2048 Guinea-Bissau Sanctions Committee; Ambassador Mansour Al-Otaibi (Kuwait) on the 1533 Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Sanctions Committee and the Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions; Deputy Permanent Representative Luis Ugarelli (Peru) on the 1373 Counter-Terrorism Committee, the 1566 Working Group on Counter-Terrorism, the Informal Working Group on International Tribunals, and the 2140 Yemen Sanctions Committee; and Ambassador Joanna Wronecka (Poland) on the 1518 Iraq Sanctions Committee, the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee, and the 2206 South Sudan Sanctions Committee. The chairpersons shared their opinions on the status of their respective sanctions regimes, the role and efficacy of sanctions in general, use of the Committees’ working methods, and issues to consider for the future.
On 19 December 2019, the Council held its semi-annual briefing on the implementation of resolution 2231, which endorsed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran’s nuclear programme (S/PV.8695). Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo briefed on the latest Secretary-General’s report and recent developments. Olof Skoog, Head of the Delegation of the EU to the UN, briefed on the activities related to the work of the Joint Commission, which the EU chairs. He also presented key findings from the report of the Joint Commission to the Council. Ambassador Marc Pecsteen de Buytswerve (Belgium) briefed in his capacity as the Council’s 2231 facilitator.