December 2020 Monthly Forecast


Briefing by the Outgoing Chairs of the Security Council’s Subsidiary Bodies

Expected Council Action

Every December the outgoing chairs of subsidiary bodies provide a briefing on their experience. The six representatives of the five countries completing their two-year terms on the Council at the end of 2020 and their respective chairmanships are:


Established during the Colombian presidency of the Council in December 2002, the practice of briefings by the outgoing chairs of the subsidiary bodies is considered an important element in efforts to provide greater transparency to the work of the sanctions committees and working groups. Since not all subsidiary bodies produce an annual report, this December briefing has also served over the years as a means of creating a publicly accessible institutional memory of a body’s activities.

Key Recent Developments

At this briefing, all of the chairs will be able to review developments within the relevant committee or working group during their two-year term, assess their experience, suggest recommendations for improvements, and provide advice to their successors. All are likely to mention the impact of COVID-19. Because of the pandemic restrictions, chairpersons have been unable to take any trips to the countries under sanctions or other regions since March. Working methods also changed, with many meetings taking place under the “informal informal” format via videoconference.

Ambassador Philippe Kridelka (Belgium) chairs three subsidiary bodies: the 751 Somalia Sanctions Committee, the Committee on the Implementation of Security Council Resolution 2231 Concerning Iran, and the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict. The Council renewed elements of the Somalia sanctions regime through resolution 2551 on 12 November, though the adoption was marked by abstentions by China and Russia. The Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict has adopted nine sets of conclusions since Belgium assumed the chairmanship of the Working Group in January 2019. Five additional conclusions were being negotiated at the time of writing. Additionally, some new working methods have been instituted during the Belgian chairmanship of the Working Group. This includes a monthly briefing to the Working Group by the incoming president of the Council on the programme of work, which allows working group members to plan ahead for country-specific situations that may be of interest. With respect to Belgium’s role as the facilitator of the 2231 process concerning Iran, Kridelka could choose to highlight some elements of Belgium’s work which unfolded during a particularly sensitive time due to sharp divisions between the US and the rest of the Council on Iran.

Ambassador José Singer Weisinger (Dominican Republic) chairs the 2374 Mali Sanctions Committee. On 17 November, Singer Weisinger gave the annual briefing on the committee’s work. The situation in Mali has been tumultuous: military officers overthrew President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta and his government in an 18 August coup d’état. Less than two weeks after the coup, on 31 August, the Council adopted resolution 2541, extending the Mali sanctions regime for another year. Singer Weisinger may touch on the need to increase awareness about the sanctions measures and their purpose. During the Committee’s last trip to Mali in 2019, it became apparent that there is a low level of understanding about the sanctions regime on the ground in Mali.

When Germany joined the Council in January 2019, it divided chairmanship of its two subsidiary bodies between its permanent representative and its deputy permanent representative. This arrangement is the first of its kind, and it seems that at the time of writing Germany will give two separate statements at this briefing. For the 1718 Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) Sanctions Committee, Heusgen has been focusing in the past year on streamlining various aspects, including the varying conversion rate used for reporting on the amount of oil the DPRK receives. This issue has so far not been resolved, leading to a discussion under “any other business” at the 17 November consultations. Meanwhile, in the briefing on the 1970 Libya Sanctions Committee, Germany may speak of its experience of serving as co-penholder on the Libya sanctions issues, also the first such arrangement in Council practice.

Ambassador Dian Triansyah Djani (Indonesia) chairs three subsidiary bodies: the 1267,1989 and 2253 Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)/Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee; the 1540 Non-Proliferation Committee; and the 1988 Taliban Sanctions Committee. The ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee added and amended several entries in 2020, which Djani may choose to highlight. For the 1540 Committee, Djani may highlight the upcoming comprehensive review required to be conducted by 25 April 2021, which is when the mandate of the committee is due to expire. Djani may also discuss how the situation has evolved for the 1988 committee, given the active peace and reconciliation discussions taking place in Afghanistan.

Ambassador Jerry Matthews Matjila (South Africa) chairs the Ad Hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa. While active under Matjila’s leadership, the Working Group struggled in 2020 to hold meetings due to COVID-19 restrictions. Nevertheless, several sensitive and prospective issues were discussed. These included security sector reform, a subject South Africa is continuing to highlight in a thematic meeting in December.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines, as chair of the Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions (IWG), has been working on the selection of subsidiary body chairmanships for incoming elected members with the rotating permanent members’ coordinator. On 1 November, China took over the role of the coordinator from France. The incoming members—India, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico, and Norway—have not yet received notification of their chairmanships. The appointments must be made by 1 January 2021. 

Council Dynamics

After the elections to the Security Council were moved from October to June, there have been significant changes in the process of appointing chairs of the Council’s subsidiary bodies. In July 2016, Council members agreed on a Note by the President concerning the preparation of newly elected members during the transitional period between the election and the beginning of their term, including the selection and preparation of chairs of subsidiary bodies. The Note established a more consultative process for the chairs’ appointment, co-led by a permanent member and by the chair of the IWG, and stipulated that the appointments should be completed by 1 October. That deadline has so far not been met. The earliest decision was 9 October in 2017, and the latest 21 November in 2018.

As of 25 November, the new appointments had not been finalised.

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Security Council Meeting Records
17 December 2019S/PV.8688 This was an annual briefing held by the outgoing chairs of the Security Council Subsidiary Bodies.
Notes by the President of the Security Council
30 August 2017S/2017/507 This was the Note of the Security Council containing the compendium of its working methods.