Status Update since our January Forecast
On 8 January, the Security Council held a briefing on West Africa and the Sahel with Mohamed Ibn Chambas, Special Representative and Head of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), who presented the Secretary-General’s latest report on the region. Consultations followed the public session. At press time, Council members were still negotiating the mandate of UNOWAS, which expires on 31 January. The mandate is traditionally renewed for a three-year period through an exchange of letters with the Secretary-General.
On 8 January, Council members met under “any other business” to discuss the situation in Darfur. Assistant Secretary-General for Africa Bintou Keita briefed members on recent intercommunal violence in West Darfur, which resulted in the death of several dozen civilians, as well as the looting of UNAMID’s former headquarters in South Darfur. Following the meeting, the president of the Council, Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy (Viet Nam), delivered elements to the press condemning these two incidents.
The UN Charter
On 9 January, the Council held a ministerial-level open debate on “Maintenance of international peace and security: upholding the UN Charter” as an opportunity for member states to reflect on and reaffirm their commitment to upholding Charter principles, particularly in the context of international peace and security. Viet Nam’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Pham Binh Minh, chaired the meeting while Secretary-General António Guterres and Chair of the Elders Mary Robinson briefed. The list of speakers had 111 member states, which led to the open debate continuing over the following two days (Resumption 1 & 2). A presidential statement was adopted during the meeting.
On 13 January, the Security Council was briefed by Special Representative of the Secretary-General Carlos Ruiz Massieu on the Secretary-General’s 90-day report on the UN Verification Mission in Colombia and the most recent developments. On 15 January, Council members issued a press statement in which they reiterated “their full and unanimous support” for the peace process (SC/14081). Among other things, they expressed serious concern about grave security conditions in various parts of the country as well as the continued targeting of community and social leaders and former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army members. They welcomed progress by the three components of the Integral System for Truth, Justice, Reparation, and Non-repetition and stressed the critical role these components play in the peace process and the need for them to be able to work independently and autonomously.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
On 14 January Security Council members held an informal interactive dialogue on the situation in eastern DRC with representatives of countries of the region, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of MONUSCO Leila Zerrougui, and UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region Huang Xia. The US, who called for the meeting, wanted to bring together various stakeholders to discuss how to support the DRC government in its efforts to stabilise eastern DRC.
On 20 January, Council members met under “any other business” to discuss the independent assessment report on the protection of civilians and neutralisation of armed groups in Beni and Mabasa Territories prepared by Lieutenant General Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz. The report made several recommendations on how the UN could improve its role in the protection of civilians in those two territories. The UN Department of Peace Operations will use the assessment’s recommendations to develop an Action Plan for implementation.
Jammu and Kashmir
On 13 January, the Security Council was briefed by Assistant Secretary-General Mohamed Khaled Khiari and Brigadier General El Hadji Babacar Faye, Officer in Charge of the Office of Military Affairs (OMA) on Jammu and Kashmir under “any other business” at China’s request. This follows a 12 December letter from the foreign minister of Pakistan to the President of the Security Council and a request from China for a meeting in December 2019. Most members reiterated their position that this was an issue that needed to be settled bilaterally between India and Pakistan.
On 15 January, the Council held a briefing, followed by consultations, on Mali. Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix presented the Secretary-General’s latest report on Mali and the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) and a Secretary-General’s letter on security challenges, MINUSMA’s performance, and transition planning. On 17 January, Council members issued a press statement, noting some progress in the implementation of the 2015 Mali Peace and Reconciliation Agreement but expressing serious concern about the delays in the implementation of many of its substantive provisions. Among other points, members welcomed the Secretary-General’s plan, reflected in his report, to adapt MINUSMA by increasing its protected mobility, agility and flexibility.
On 20 January, Council members were briefed in consultations by Elizabeth Spehar, Special Representative and head of UNFICYP, on recent developments and the latest Secretary-General’s report. On 30 January, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 2506 which extended the mandate of UNFICYP for another six months.
Middle East (Israel/Palestine)
On 21 January and 22 January, the Security Council held an open debate on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question (Resumption 1). Rosemary DiCarlo, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, and Ursula Mueller, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, briefed. Both DiCarlo and Mueller spoke about the negative impact of the increase in Israeli settlements and demolition of Palestinian structures. Member states spoke on various topics, ranging from the need for the Security Council to act in support of the two-state solution to regional developments such as protests in Iran.
UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia
On 22 January, Council members met in consultations for a briefing on UNRCCA by Special Representative and head of UNRCCA Natalia Gherman. She updated Council members on the activities of UNRCCA since her last briefing in July, addressing issues such as terrorism, foreign terrorist fighters, regional cooperation, transboundary water management, and the role of women and youth in the region.
Cooperation between the United Nations and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
On 30 January, the Security Council heard a briefing on the cooperation between the UN and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Secretary-General António Guterres and ASEAN Secretary-General Dato Lim Jock Hoi briefed the Council. This briefing, held under the agenda item “Cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations in maintaining international peace and security”, was the first Council meeting focused on cooperation with ASEAN.