Status Update since our July Forecast
UNRCCA (Central Asia)
On 6 July, Special Representative and head of the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA) Natalia Gherman briefed Council members in a closed VTC meeting on the activities of the UNRCCA. She updated them on the activities of the centre since her last briefing in January, including on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the region and on the work of UNRCCA. Her briefing apparently touched upon UNRCCA’s work to promote regional cooperation projects, empower women and youth in the region, and support the implementation of the UN anti-terrorism strategy on a local level.
Peace and Security and Human Rights
On 7 July, the Council held via VTC an open debate under the agenda item UN peace operations on the topic “peacekeeping operations and human rights” (S/2020/674). Ahead of the debate, Germany circulated a concept note (S/2020/604). Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, German Federal Minister of Defence, delivered Germany’s national-capacity statement. The briefers were Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and David Shearer, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for South Sudan and head of UNMISS, and Dismas Kitenge Senga of the Kisangani (DRC) civil society organisation, Lotus. Twenty-nine member states not on the Council and the EU submitted their statements in writing. On 28 July, members of the Council held an informal meeting with the President of the Human Rights Council, Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger.
On 8 July, the Council held a high-level open VTC on Libya (S/2020/686). Secretary-General António Guterres briefed. On 28 July, the 1970 Libya Sanctions Committee held an “informal informal” meeting via closed VTC with Libya, regional member states, and regional organisations to discuss the implementation of UN sanctions.
West Africa and the Sahel
On 9 July, Council members held an open VTC meeting (S/2020/706), followed by a closed VTC session, on West Africa and the Sahel. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, head of UNOWAS, presented the Secretary-General’s latest report on the region (S/2020/585). Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, the coordinator of the Association for Indigenous Women and Peoples of Chad, spoke about the link between climate change and security, in particular in the Lake Chad Basin and the Sahel. On 28 July, the Council adopted a presidential statement, proposed by Belgium and Niger, following up on the 9 July meeting (S/PRST/2020/7). The statement, among other things, expressed concern about the potential of the COVID-19 pandemic to exacerbate existing fragilities in West Africa and the Sahel, undermine development, worsen the humanitarian situation and disproportionately affect women and girls, children, refugees, internally displaced persons, older persons and persons with disabilities.
On 13 July, the Security Council issued a press statement welcoming developments in South Sudan’s peace process, including the agreement between the parties to the Revitalised Agreement on the allocation of states’ leadership positions and the announcement of governors. It also called on the Revitalised Transitional Government of National Unity to end delays in the implementation of the Revitalised Agreement and urged the parties to finalise security arrangements, establish transitional government institutions and to make progress on transitional reforms. It expressed concern about increased violence between armed groups in South Sudan in recent months and called on the parties to work toward preventing such violence. The press statement briefly addressed issues such as South Sudan’s efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, the dire humanitarian situation and cooperation between South Sudanese authorities and humanitarian agencies, and the role of IGAD, while calling on the South Sudanese government to ensure UNMISS’ freedom of movement.
On 14 July, during its first physical meeting since 12 March, the Council considered and adopted without a vote the draft report of the Security Council to the General Assembly covering 1 January to 31 December 2019 (S/PV.8746). The Russian Federation’s Permanent Representative, Ambassador Vasily Nebenzia, whose delegation was responsible for drafting the introduction to this year’s annual report, presented it to the Council.
Youth, Peace and Security
On 14 July, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2535 on youth, peace and security, which was co-authored by the Dominican Republic and France (S/PV.8748). The adoption followed the 27 April open debate on this issue, convened during the presidency of the Dominican Republic. This is the third resolution adopted by the Council on youth, peace and security, following resolution 2250 of 9 December 2015 and resolution 2419 of 6 June 2018. It requests the Secretary-General to submit a biennial report to the Security Council on the implementation of resolutions 2250, 2419 and 2535. The resolution thus established a regular reporting requirement on youth, peace and security for the first time. The resolution also calls for more systematic reporting on the youth, peace and security agenda by the Secretary-General in regular thematic and geographic reports and includes provisions aimed at the mainstreaming of the youth, peace and security agenda into the work of the UN secretariat.
On 14 July, the Security Council convened for an open briefing followed by closed consultations on Colombia. The meeting took place in the Economic and Social Council chamber, part of the morning of the first in-person meetings since 12 March for Council members. Special Representative and head of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia Carlos Ruiz Massieu briefed on recent developments and the Secretary-General’s latest 90-day report on the mission (S/2020/603). The Council was also briefed by Clemencia Carabalí Rodallega, a representative of the Municipal Association of Women in the north of Cauca department. Both briefings were conducted via VTC. On 16 July, Council members issued a press statement which expressed concern over the targeting and killing of former combatants, social leaders, and indigenous, Afro-Colombian and other community leaders, which have continued unabated despite the COVID-19 pandemic (SC/14255). Council members recalled resolution 2532, which endorsed the appeal of the Secretary-General for a global ceasefire in response to COVID-19, and called on the parties in Colombia to halt violence and facilitate pandemic response. Council members further took note of the request made by the parties and the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (SJP) for a role for the Verification Mission in monitoring the implementation of sanctions imposed by the SJP, as envisioned by the 2016 Final Peace Agreement.
Central African Republic
On 14 July, the Security Council issued a press statement condemning an attack against a convoy of MINUSCA (SC/14253). The attack, which occurred on 13 July and was carried out by armed elements of the Return, Reclamation and Rehabilitation (3R) in the north-west of the CAR, resulted in the death of a Rwandan peacekeeper. On 28 July, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2536, which extended the CAR sanctions regime until 31 July 2021, including an arms embargo with some exemptions. Resolution 2536 also renewed the mandate of the CAR Panel of Experts, who assist the Sanctions Committee to oversee the sanction measures, until 31 August 2021 (S/PV.8750).
Democratic Republic of the Congo
On 15 July, Belgium, South Africa, and the US co-hosted an Arria-formula meeting entitled: “the illegal exploitation of natural resources in the Great Lakes Region—How to translate the ongoing positive regional momentum into new options for conflict prevention, management and reform”. Along with Council members, participants included the DRC; Huang Xia, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Region; Mauricio Villafuerte, Mission Chief for the DRC from the International Monetary Fund; and member states from the region as well as others such as Canada, Switzerland, and Ireland. Council members spoke about the importance of having a comprehensive approach with regional cooperation to tackle natural resource exploitation. Some also suggested an increased role for the Peacebuilding Commission. Russia said that any measures must respect the sovereignty of the DRC.
Women, Peace and Security
On 17 July, the Council held, via VTC, its annual open debate on conflict-related sexual violence (S/2020/727). The Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten, and Angelina Jolie in her position as UNHCR Special Envoy, briefed. Two civil society representatives also briefed: Khin Ohmar, founder and chair of Progressive Voice from Myanmar and Nadia Carine Therese Fornel-Poutou, Executive President of the Association des Femmes Juristes de Centrafrique. In addition to Council members, 43 member states and observers submitted statements, including Canada on behalf of 62 states and the EU.
On 20 July, 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 28 July, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 2537 which extended the mandate of UNFICYP for another six months (S/PV.8751).
The Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question
On 21 July, Council members held the quarterly open debate on “The Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question” in open VTC format (S/2020/736). The briefers were Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov; Daniel Levy, President of the US/Middle East Project; and Khalil Shikaki, Professor of Political Science and Director of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah.
Climate and Security
On 24 July, Security Council members held a ministerial-level open debate on “climate and security” in open VTC format. A concept note was circulated ahead of the meeting (S/2020/725), which was chaired by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. Briefers included Assistant Secretary-General for Europe, Central Asia and the Americas Miroslav Jenča; Colonel Mahamadou Magagi of Niger, Director of the Centre National d’Études Stratégiques et de Sécurité; and Coral Pasisi of Niue, Director of the Sustainable Pacific Consultancy. In addition to the 15 Council members, several member states spoke at the meeting on behalf of regional or other groups: Belize (Alliance of Small Island States); Denmark (the Nordic Group); Fiji (Pacific Small Island Developing States); and Nauru (Group of Friends on Climate and Security). A representative of the EU also spoke, as did Kenya and Ireland, which will serve on the Council in 2021-2022. In addition to these statements, 29 other non-Security Council member states submitted their interventions in writing.
Arria-Formula Meeting on Participation of Women in the Afghan Peace Process
On 27 July, an Arria-formula meeting on “Women and the Afghan Peace Process: Ensuring Women’s Participation and Promoting their Rights” was held via VTC. It was co-organised by Afghanistan, Germany, Indonesia and the UK. The First Lady of Afghanistan was the keynote speaker, while concluding remarks were provided by Baroness Fiona Hodgson of Abinger, a member of the UK House of Lords and honorary member of the Group of Friends of Women in Afghanistan. The panellists were Hasina Safi, Afghanistan’s Minister of Women’s Affairs; Dr Habiba Sarabi, member of the Afghan government negotiating team; Ghezal Haris, head of the Afghanistan Ombudsperson’s Office; Deborah Lyons, Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA; and Sheikha Alya Ahmed bin Saif Al-Thani, Permanent Representative of Qatar to the UN. In addition to Council members, interventions were also made by representatives of Norway and Uzbekistan, which are expected—in addition to Germany, Indonesia and Qatar—to host future rounds of the intra-Afghan negotiations. All the speakers expressed their strong support for the meaningful participation of women in the upcoming intra-Afghan negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban. Participants in the meeting also emphasised the need to hear input from women across all of Afghan society, including women residing in rural areas, before and during the negotiations process. They further stressed that any eventual peace agreement must safeguard women’s rights and preserve the gains made in the past 20 years towards the empowerment of women and girls in Afghanistan.