Status Update since our May Forecast
Bosnia and Herzegovina
The Security Council held its semi-annual open debate on Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) via videoconference (VTC) on 4 May (S/2021/436). During his briefing, High Representative for BiH Valentin Inzko observed that BiH essentially remains a frozen conflict, while political leaders push nationalistic agendas. Inzko resigned from his position as High Representative on 27 May.
Middle East, including the Palestinian Question
Security Council members held VTC consultations on “The Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question” on 10 and 12 May. An open VTC debate and a discussion under “any other business” were held on this issue on 16 May and 18 May, respectively. In a press statement agreed and issued on 22 May, the Security Council called for “full adherence to the ceasefire” of 20 May that ended the 11-day round of hostilities between Israel and Hamas (SC/14527). On 27 May, an in-person meeting was also held on this issue in the Council chamber, featuring remote briefings by Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland; Philippe Lazzarini, the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA); and Rashid Khalidi of Columbia University (S/PV.8782).
On 5 May, Russia hosted an Arria-formula meeting via VTC on the situation in Ukraine entitled “Odessa seven years after: Neo-nazism and violent nationalism as drivers of conflict in Ukraine”. The briefers were: Dmitry Fuchedzhi, former deputy Chief of Odessa’s Regional Interior Ministry; Alexey Albu, a former member of the Odessa Regional Council; Anna Tuv, a resident of Gorlovka township in the Donbas region; Sergey Kirichuk, a participant in the 2 May 2014 events in the Odessa Trade Union building; and Rostislav Ishchenko, a political expert and analyst. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia (Russia) provided opening and closing remarks at the meeting. After the meeting, Council members Estonia, Ireland, France, Norway, the UK and the US, as well as non-Council members Belgium and Germany, issued a joint statement in which they said that Russia had used the meeting to promote a false narrative about the situation in Ukraine. While expressing condemnation for the loss of lives in Odessa on 2 May 2014, they urged Russia to stop politicising human tragedies.
Upholding Multilateralism and the UN-Centred International System
On 7 May, the Security Council held a high-level VTC briefing on “Upholding multilateralism and the UN-centred international system” (S/2021/456). Council president China circulated a concept note in advance of the meeting (S/2021/416). Wang Yi, China’s State Councillor and Minister for Foreign Affairs, chaired the meeting. Volkan Bozkir, the president of the General Assembly, briefed.
On 10 May, the Council held a briefing and consultations on the UN Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/ISIL (UNITAD) (S/2021/460). Karim Asad Ahmad Khan, Special Adviser and head of UNITAD, said in his briefing that “a landmark moment has been reached in our work”. He emphasised that UNITAD has established clear evidence that ISIL committed genocide against the Yazidi as a religious group. On 12 May, there was an in-person Arria-formula meeting entitled “Delivering accountability through innovation and partnership: Harnessing technology to deliver justice for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide”, which was organised by Iraq, the Netherlands, the UAE, the UK, and the US. The meeting highlighted UNITAD’s approach as a model for international accountability efforts. In addition to Khan, briefers included: Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Nadia Murad; Amal Clooney, Counsel for Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) victims; Daryn Reicherter, the Director of the Human Rights in Trauma Mental Health Laboratory at Stanford University; and Justin Spelhaug, Vice-President for the Tech for Social Impact Group at the Microsoft Corporation.
On 27 May, the Security Council adopted resolution 2576 renewing the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) for one year.
On 11 May, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2574, which expanded the mandate of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia to include monitoring compliance with the sentences handed down by the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (SJP).
Impact of Emerging Technologies on International Peace and Security
On 17 May, there was a virtual Arria-formula meeting entitled “The impact of emerging technologies on international peace and security”. China organised the meeting with Council members Kenya and Mexico, and in cooperation with non-Council members Egypt, South Africa, and the UAE. Briefings were provided by: Izumi Nakamitsu, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs; Maria-Francesca Spatolisano, the Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs and Officer-in-Charge of the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Technology; and Vincent Boulanin, Senior Researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). The organisers of the meeting sought to increase awareness of the impact of emerging technologies on international peace and security and examine efforts to prevent and mitigate potential risks caused by their use.
On 11 May, Security Council members held closed VTC consultations on the implementation of resolution 1559 (2004), which called for the disarming of all militias and the extension of government control over all Lebanese territory. Under‑Secretary‑General for Political Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo briefed on the latest Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of resolution 1559 (S/2021/396).
On 18 May, Security Council members held a VTC briefing, followed by VTC consultations, on the Group of Five for the Sahel Joint Force (FC-G5S) (S/2021/484). Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix presented the Secretary-General’s latest report on the force (S/2021/442). Council members also heard a briefing from Chadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chérif Mahamat Zene, on behalf of the Group of Five for the Sahel (G5 Sahel); the Force Commander of the FC-G5S, General Oumarou Namata Gazama of Niger; and Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) Chair Ambassador Mohamed Fathi Ahmed Edrees (Egypt). During the consultations, Under-Secretary-General for Operational Support Atul Khare briefed on the potential activities of the proposed UN office to support the FC-G5S.
Peace and Security in Africa (Post-Pandemic Recovery)
On 19 May, Security Council members held a high-level VTC open debate on “Addressing the root causes of conflict while promoting post-pandemic recovery in Africa”. UN Secretary-General António Guterres; Moussa Faki Mahamat, the Chairperson of the AU Commission; and Achim Steiner, the Administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), briefed at the meeting, which was one of China’s signature events during its Council presidency. The Security Council adopted a presidential statement stressing the need for greater support to African countries, especially those affected by conflict, to recover from the pandemic (S/PRST/2021/10). The statement expressed concern that African countries had only received two percent of vaccine doses administered globally.
Safety and Security of Peacekeepers
On 24 May, the Security Council held an open videoconference (VTC) debate on “United Nations peacekeeping operations: Improving safety and security of peacekeepers”. Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Under-Secretary-General for Operational Support Atul Khare, and Under-Secretary-General for Safety and Security Gilles Michaud briefed the Council. The meeting focused on how to better implement resolution 2518 of 30 March 2020, which addresses capacity-building and the safety and security of peacekeepers. The Council adopted a presidential statement (S/PRST/2021/11) including language on the threat posed by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to peacekeepers, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on peacekeeping operations, and the vaccination rollout to peacekeepers.
Protection of Civilians
On 15 May, Security Council members held the annual open debate on the Protection of Civilians (POC) via VTC. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock presented the Secretary-General’s annual report on POC, which focused on the implementation of resolution 2286 on the protection of health workers and health infrastructure in conflict. ICRC President Peter Maurer appealed to the international community to improve adherence to international humanitarian law and to resolution 2286. Orzala Nemat, the Director of the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit, spoke on civil society participation in the Afghan peace process. Council members reflected on the status of POC and condemned attacks against healthcare, humanitarian personnel, and on civilian infrastructure. Some also highlighted specific country situations, including Afghanistan, Colombia, Ethiopia (Tigray), Myanmar, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
On 10 May, Security Council members issued a press statement condemning the attack on the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) that occurred on 10 May near Beni in North Kivu, resulting in the death of one Malawian peacekeeper.
On 26 May, Estonia, France and Ireland supported by Norway, the UK, and the US requested a meeting on Belarus under “any other business”. The catalyst for the meeting was the 23 May diversion to Minsk of a Ryanair passenger plane by the Belorussian authorities and the subsequent detention of Belorussian dissident journalist Roman Protasevich along with Sofia Sapega. After the meeting, Council members Estonia, France, Ireland, Norway, the UK, and the US and non-Council members Germany and Belgium issued a joint statement in which they condemned the forced landing of the Ryanair flight and called for immediate release of Protasevich and Sapega. They also called on the International Civil Aviation Organization to investigate this incident.
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)
On 27 May, the chair of the 1718 Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Mona Juul (Norway), briefed Council members in consultations on the 90-day report on the committee’s work.