On 3 November, Security Council members held a virtual, high-level open debate on “contemporary drivers of conflict and insecurity”, under the Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace agenda (S/2020/1090). Saint Vincent and the Grenadines circulated a concept note ahead of the meeting (S/2020/1064). Briefers were: Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed; Chief Executive Officer of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development Ibrahim Mayaki; Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West Indies Hilary Beckles; and the President of ECOSOC, Ambassador Munir Akram (Pakistan).
On 4 November, the Security Council held its annual meeting with the heads of UN police components in UN peace operations (S/2020/1092). In addition to Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix, the Council also heard briefings from the heads of police components of three UN peacekeeping operations and one special political mission. Pascal Champion, the police commissioner of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic, briefed on enhancing UN police performance and accountability; Unaisi Lutu Vuniwaqa, the police commissioner of the UN Mission in South Sudan, briefed on the contribution of UN police to the protection of civilians; Issoufou Yacouba, the police commissioner of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, addressed the issue of advancing political solutions through UN policing; and Serge Therriault, the police commissioner of the UN Integrated Office in Haiti, discussed capacity–building and development efforts.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
On 5 November, the Council held its semi-annual debate on Bosnia and Herzegovina (S/2020/1103). High Representative Valentin Inzko briefed on the latest report of the Office of the High Representative (S/2020/1052). The Council unanimously adopted resolution 2549 renewing the authorisation of the EU-led multinational stabilisation force (EUFOR ALTHEA) for another year (S/2020/1087). On 24 November, Council members convened for a virtual Arria-formula meeting, organised by Russia, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The briefers at the meeting were Inzko; Dragan Čović, a former member of the tripartite presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the head of the Croatian Democratic Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina; and Milorad Dodik, a Republika Srpska politician who is the head of the Alliance for Independent Social Democrats and one of three members of the rotating tripartite presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
On 10 November, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda delivered her semi-annual briefing to the Council on recent developments concerning cases in Libya (S/2020/1108). On 19 November, Council members met for a VTC briefing, followed by consultations, on the work of UNSMIL and on Libya sanctions. The briefers were Acting Special Representative and head of UNSMIL, Stephanie Williams, and the chair of the 1970 Libya Sanctions Committee, Günter Sautter, the Deputy Permanent Representative of Germany.
On 11 November, the Council discussed the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh under “any other business”. Russia called for the meeting to discuss the 9 November agreement, which it had brokered, on cessation of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Under the agreement, Russia would deploy peacekeeping force along the line of contact in Nagorno-Karabakh and along the Lachin corridor that connects Armenia with the disputed territory.
On 11 November, the Council discussed the situation in Belarus under “any other business”. Estonia, Belgium, France, Germany, and the UK initiated the meeting. These members have expressed concern over the ongoing human rights violations against the opposition in the country. They called for a peaceful and inclusive national dialogue vis-à-vis disputed presidential elections held in August.
On 12 November, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 2550 that renewed the mandate of UNISFA until 15 May 2021 (S/PV.8774). It retained the authorised troop ceiling of 3,550 and the authorised police ceiling of 640 personnel, as well as the mission’s support for the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism.
Central African Republic
On 12 November, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 2552, which extends the mandate of MINUSCA for one year until 15 November 2021 (S/PV.8776). Resolution 2552 maintains MINUSCA’s current troop levels of 11,650 military personnel and 2,080 police personnel, and highlights preparations for CAR’s elections, supporting the country’s peace process and protecting civilians as key priorities for the mission.
Hitting the Ground Running Workshop
The 18th annual workshop for incoming members of the UN Security Council, titled “Hitting the Ground Running”, was held on 12 and 13 November in New York City. The government of Finland convened the workshop, in cooperation with Security Council Report, the School of International and Public Affairs of Columbia University, and the Security Council Affairs Division of the UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs.
On 16 November, the Council held a VTC briefing on the Group of Five for the Sahel joint force. Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix briefed on the Secretary-General’s latest report on the force (S/2020/1074). Other briefings were delivered by Ambassador Issa Konfourou of Mali, on behalf of the G5 Sahel countries; Koen Vervaeke, the Managing Director for Africa at the European External Action Service and Ambassador Robert Rae (Canada), the chair of the Peacebuilding Commission. Because of technical problems, AU Peace and Security Commissioner Smaїl Chergui was unable to brief. His statement will be included in the compilation document of briefings and statements at the meeting.
On 17 November, Ambassador José Singer Weisinger (Dominican Republic) briefed the Council in his capacity as chair of the Mali 2374 Sanctions Committee (S/PV.8777). The briefing was held in accordance with resolution 2374, which requests that the chair brief at least once a year on the overall work of the committee.
On 17 November, the Security Council heard a briefing on the latest Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of resolution 1701 (S/2020/1110) in a closed VTC meeting. Assistant Secretary-General for the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific, Mohamed Khaled Khiari, and the Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Ján Kubiš, briefed the Council.
On 17 November, the Council met under “any other business” to discuss issues related to implementation of paragraph 5 of resolution 2397.The Chair of the 1718 DPRK Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Christoph Heusgen (Germany), initiated the meeting to address the issue of conversion rate for tons and barrels related to the importing of refined petroleum products to the DPRK that are capped at 500,000 barrels annually. A persistent issue at the committee level has been the inability of its members to agree on a ton/barrel conversion rate, which would help the committee determine with more precision the permitted amount of imported petroleum products. After the meeting, Heusgen held a media stakeout during which he noted that China and Russia have politicised the process of finding a solution to this issue and have continuously stalled attempts to resolve it. He emphasised that the inability to resolve this issue undermines the credibility of the Council and the committee.
The Middle East, including the Palestinian Question
On 18 November, Security Council members held a VTC briefing, followed by VTC consultations, on “The Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question” (S/2020/1128). Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov briefed. He expressed concern about the rising number of COVID-19 infections in the occupied Palestinian territory, the decision by Israeli authorities to commence bidding for the construction of more than 1,200 new housing units in the Givat Hamatos settlement in eastern Jerusalem, and the demolition of Palestinian structures in the occupied West Bank.
On 23 November, the Council received its annual briefing from the chairs of its counter-terrorism-related committees. Briefings on the activities of the respective committees were delivered by Ambassador Dian Triansyah Djani (Indonesia), chair of the 1540 Committee, which focuses on the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and of the 1267/1989/2253 Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee; and Ambassador Tarek Ladeb (Tunisia), chair of the 1373 Counter-Terrorism Committee.
On 24 November, Special Representative and head of UNAMI, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, briefed the Council on the most recent developments in Iraq and on the Secretary-General’s reports on UNAMI (S/2020/1099), and on the issue of missing Kuwaiti and third-country nationals and missing Kuwaiti property, including the national archives (S/2020/1089).
Ethiopia (Tigray conflict)
On 24 November, Council members discussed the conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region under “any other business”. Several members emphasised the importance of de-escalating the conflict, expressed concern about the impact of the fighting on civilians, and underscored their support for regional engagement to resolve the conflict.