Status Update since our December Forecast
On 2 December, Russia organised an Arria-formula meeting on implementation of the 2015 Minsk Package of Measures, an agreement on the settlement of conflict in Ukraine. According to the concept note circulated ahead of the meeting, the aim was to provide an opportunity for the sides to the settlement process and Council members to exchange views on the implementation of resolution 2202 which endorsed the agreement. Briefings were provided by Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia (Russia); Natalia Nikoronova, Representative of Donetsk in the Minsk Contact Group; and Vladislav Deinego, Representative of Lugansk in the Minsk Contact Group. The US, the UK and the EU members of the Council did not take part at the meeting due to objections over the briefers.
Children and Armed Conflict
On 2 and 4 December, the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict met in closed VTC meetings to receive a briefing from the UN country task force on monitoring and reporting on grave violations against children (CTFMR) in Colombia and the CTFMR in Somalia, respectively. On 11 December, the Working Group met with the permanent representatives of Nigeria and the Philippines to the UN to discuss the conclusions adopted on the Secretary-General’s report on Nigeria and the Philippines. On 17 December, the Working Group convened for the presentation by the Office of the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict of the Secretary-General’s report on children and armed conflict in South Sudan. On 18 December, it heard a briefing from UNICEF on its Global Horizontal Note and met with the chargé d’affaires of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to discuss the conclusions adopted on the Secretary-General’s report on children and armed conflict in the DRC. In December, the Working Group adopted conclusions on the Secretary-General’s reports on Nigeria, the Philippines, the DRC and Mali, bringing the number of conclusions adopted on the Secretary-General’s country-specific reports on children and armed conflict to 13 during Belgium’s 2019-2020 tenure as chair of the Working Group.
Security Sector Reform
On 3 December, the Security Council held a ministerial-level debate on “Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace: Security Sector Governance and Reform (SSG/R)” via VTC (S/2020/1176). South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor, presided over the meeting. The briefers were Bintou Keita, Assistant Secretary-General for Africa; Alexandre Zouev, Assistant Secretary-General for Rule of Law and Security Institutions; and Smaїl Chergui, AU Commissioner for Peace and Security. Following the meeting, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 2553, the Council’s second thematic resolution on security sector reform.
On 4 December, the Security Council held a high-level VTC debate on cooperation between the UN and regional and subregional organisations, focusing on the AU (S/2020/1179). South Africa circulated a concept note ahead of the debate (S/2020/1146). President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa chaired the open debate. Secretary-General António Guterres briefed on his annual report on the cooperation between the UN and the AU (S/2020/860). AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat also briefed. A presidential statement was adopted as an outcome (S/PRST/2020/11).
On 4 December, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2554, which renewed the counter-piracy measures off the coast of Somalia for one year (S/2020/1173). Resolution 2554 authorises states and regional organisations cooperating with Somalia to use all necessary means to fight against piracy and armed robbery at sea off Somalia’s coast.
On 4 December, the Security Council adopted a presidential statement, requesting the Secretary-General to cease providing periodic reporting on the situation in Burundi and instead cover the country in the context of his regular reporting on Central Africa and the Great Lakes region (S/PRST/2020/12). The presidential statement also called on the government of Burundi to cooperate with the UN to address a number of challenges that the country faces, including human rights, the rule of law and fundamental freedoms.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
On 7 December, the Security Council held a briefing on the Secretary-General’s most recent report on MONUSCO (S/PV.8778). Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of MONUSCO Leila Zerrougui told the Council that the so-called joint strategy, which was shared with the Council by the Secretary-General on 26 October, offers a vision for MONUSCO’s eventual drawdown and exit. On 18 December, the Council adopted resolution 2556, extending MONUSCO’s mandate until 20 December 2021. Fourteen members voted in favour of the resolution, with the Russian Federation abstaining.
On 8 December, the Council was briefed (S/2020/1183) on UNITAMS and UNAMID. The briefing covered the Secretary-General’s 90-day report on both missions (S/2020/1155) as well as the joint AU/UN special report on UNAMID (S/2020/1115). Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo, Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix and Under-Secretary-General for Operational Support Atul Khare briefed. On 10 December 2020, the Council received the semi-annual briefing of the ICC Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, related to the Court’s work on Darfur (S/2020/1192). On 11 December 2020, the chair of the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Sven Jürgenson (Estonia), provided the quarterly briefing on the committee’s work (S/2020/1235). On 22 December 2020, the Council adopted resolution 2559 on the expiration of the mandate of UNAMID on 31 December 2020.
Central Africa (UNOCA)
On 9 December, François Louncény Fall, Special Representative and head of UNOCA, briefed the Council on the Secretary-General’s semi-annual report on UNOCA and the implementation of the UN’s regional strategy to combat the Lord’s Resistance Army (S/2020/1154). In his briefing, Fall highlighted a number of security threats in the region and called for greater regional cooperation and coordination to address the root causes of instability.
Youth, Peace and Security
On 9 December, an Arria-formula meeting was held via VTC on “Youth, Peace and Security: Capitalising on intergenerational dialogue to build and sustain peace and enhance social cohesion at community levels”. It was organised by South Africa in cooperation with the Dominican Republic, France, Niger, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Tunisia as well as the incoming members Ireland, Kenya and Norway. The briefers were Jayathma Wickramanayake, the Secretary-General’s youth envoy; Aya Chebbi, the AU Special Envoy on Youth; Ahmed Yasin, peace activist and youth mobiliser at Palestinian Vision; and Karabo Mokgonyana, Southern Africa Youth Ambassador for Peace. The meeting marked the fifth anniversary of the adoption on 9 December 2015 of resolution 2250, which was the first thematic resolution on youth, peace and security.
On 10 December, Karim Asad Ahmad Khan, Special Adviser and head of UNITAD, briefed the Council on the latest Secretary-General’s report (S/2020/1107). He called on the Council to maintain its support for UNITAD in its pursuit of justice for the victims. He briefed the Council on the innovative approaches the team has adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic and commended the government of Iraq for cooperation (S/2020/1193).
Golan Heights (UNDOF)
On 11 December, Council members held a closed VTC on UNDOF. On 18 December, the Council adopted resolution 2555, renewing UNDOF’s mandate until 30 June 2021.
On 11 December, the Security Council held a meeting under “any other business” on the human rights situation in the DPRK. Germany, France, Belgium, Estonia, the UK, Dominican Republic, and the US requested the meeting. Initially these members proposed holding an open meeting with a briefing by Michelle Bachelet, High Commissioner for Human Rights. China and Russia objected to holding an open meeting, however.
On 14 December, the Security Council held its semi-annual debate on the IRMCT via VTC (S/2020/1236). The IRMCT’s president, Judge Carmel Agius, and its prosecutor, Serge Brammertz, briefed. Agius told the Council that the IRMCT may conclude most of its cases by May 2021.
On 14 December, Security Council members discussed the humanitarian situation in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia under “any other business”, a standing item in consultations. The meeting was initiated at the request of Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany, the US, and the UK. Wafaa Saeed, OCHA’s Deputy Director for Eastern & Southern Africa, briefed, calling on the parties to respect international humanitarian law.
On 15 December, the Security Council convened for VTC consultations on Libya. Acting Special Representative and head of UNSMIL Stephanie Williams briefed on progress in the Secretariat’s articulating proposals for effective monitoring of the October 2020 ceasefire agreement in Libya under UN auspices. On 16 December, the Secretary-General announced the appointment of Raisedon Zenenga of Zimbabwe as Mission Coordinator of UNSMIL.
On 15 December, the Security Council was briefed (S/2020/1237) on UNMISS and the Secretary-General’s 90-day report on South Sudan (S/2020/1180). Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of UNMISS David Shearer and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock briefed. Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy (Viet Nam), chair of the 2206 South Sudan Sanctions Committee, briefed on South Sudan sanctions.
On 17 December, Council members held an open VTC meeting on the situation in Afghanistan (S/2020/1274). Deborah Lyons, Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA, briefed on recent developments and the Secretary-General’s 9 December report on UNAMA (S/2020/1182). The Council was also briefed by Ambassador Dian Triansyah Djani (Indonesia), the chair of the 1988 Afghanistan Sanctions Committee, and Shkula Zadran, Afghanistan’s Youth Representative to the UN. On 18 December, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2557, renewing the mandate of the Monitoring Team supporting the 1988 Afghanistan Sanctions Committee for another year, until 17 December 2021.
International Court of Justice
On 18 December, the Security Council held a virtual open debate on the promotion and strengthening of the rule of law, focusing on strengthening the cooperation between the Security Council and the ICJ. The president of the ICJ, Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, briefed. South Africa circulated a concept note ahead of the open debate (S/2020/1194).
On 21 December, the Security Council adopted resolution 2558 on the review of the UN peacebuilding architecture. The resolution was substantively identical to General Assembly resolution 75/201, adopted that same day. The joint resolutions welcome “the progress made in the implementation” of the 27 April 2016 resolutions on the last review of UN peacebuilding, including through the relevant UN intergovernmental bodies, and by the entire UN system, including through reforms, in particular, at the field level. The resolutions set out plans for a high-level General Assembly meeting during its seventy-sixth session on the financing of peacebuilding that should pursue “action-oriented outcomes”. A further comprehensive review of UN peacebuilding will take place in 2025, according to the resolutions, which request the Secretary-General to present an interim report in 2022, as well as a second, detailed report in 2024 in advance of the review, and to continue to present a report every two years following that review.
On 21 December, Council members held VTC consultations on Western Sahara. Germany requested the meeting to consider recent developments in the region: the increased tensions since mid-November between Morocco and the Polisario Front and the US recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara on 10 December. Bintou Keita, the Assistant Secretary-General for Africa, and Colin Stewart, the Special Representative and head of MINURSO, briefed.
On 22 December, the Security Council held an open VTC session on the implementation of resolution 2231, which endorsed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran’s nuclear programme. Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo presented the Secretary-General’s latest report on the implementation of resolution 2231. The Council’s facilitator for the implementation of resolution 2231, Ambassador Philippe Kridelka (Belgium), reported on the work of the Council related to resolution 2231. The Head of the EU delegation, Ambassador Olof Skoog, briefed on the work of the JCPOA’s Joint Commission.